Only two of South Carolina’s seven gubernatorial candidates would consider moving the Confederate flag that flies in front of the South Carolina Statehouse.
The flag has already been moved once; in 2000, the flag was moved from atop the dome of the statehouse and out of the House and Senate chambers, and now flies beside a monument to Confederate soldiers.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) and South Carolina Superintendent of Education Jim Rex (D), both said they would move the flag from in front of the statehouse to another site altogether if elected governor.
The third Democrat in the race, State Sen. Robert Ford, who was instrumental in the 2000 move, opposes the move and believes enough progress has been made on the issue.
“I like the flag where it is now,” Ford told the AP. “If you revisit that issue, it will just put another scar on South Carolina’s face.”
All four of the Republican candidates, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, state Rep. Nikki Haley and state Attorney General Henry McMaster, oppose moving the flag, claiming that there isn’t enough interest across the state to do so.
“It’s a discussion that we shouldn’t have because the votes aren’t there to have it,” Bauer told the AP. “And so all we’re doing is putting ourselves in a national spotlight again for a battle the outcome’s not going to be different.”
However, Rex believes it may be time to revisit the issue as the state continues to lose jobs in a slow economy and boycotts by the NAACP and NCAA, among others, continue.
“I think it’s my responsibility to tell the citizens of South Carolina that this flag is not just an image problem, it’s actually affecting negatively our ability to compete and our ability to have the kind of economic development that we say we want,” he told the AP.