Sanford Receiving Major Environmental Endorsement Monday
Incumbent Republican Gov. Mark Sanford is set to receive a major environmental endorsement at a press conference Monday on Daniel Island, sources familiar with the announcement told FITS late Saturday.
While the identity of the group remains a secret and Sanford staffers and campaign representatives declined to provide any details, many believe it could be the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, a group that is already endorsing 15 House candidates (8 Republicans and 7 Democrats) in contested 2006 races.
Other possibilities include the Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, the Lowcountry Open Land Trust or The Conservation Fund.
"It's a group that's going to be perceived as a little more mainstream than the Sierra Club or the Coastal Conservation League," said a key Sanford confidante who spoke with FITS on the condition of anonymity.
Whatever the group, Sanford's campaign and the SCGOP are doing their best to make the announcement look like the second coming, which makes sense given that environmental voters by and large choose Democrats over Republicans in general elections.
Sanford has a stellar environmental record for a candidate of either party, however, a record that is likely to be on full display at Monday's announcement.
Whether fully funding the Conservation Bank for the first time in its history, playing a pivotal role in the Bonneau Ferry project that has preserved over 10,000 acres in the Cooper River Historic District, consistently urging the replenishment of environmental trust funds or standing up to Rep. Jim Clyburn's environmentally-insensitive "Bridge to Nowhere" over Sparkleberry Swamp - Sanford has stuck to his 2002 campaign promises and repeatedly gone to bat on conservation and environmental issues.
The governor has also named high-profile environmental leaders like Mike McShane and Elizabeth Hagood to key Chairmanships at the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health and Environmental Control, respectively.
Stay tuned to FITS for more on this breaking Campaign 2006 story ...