Democratic candidate for governor State Sen. Vincent Sheheen said Wednesday that he will push to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds if he is elected and replace it with an American flag.
Sheheen spoke at a joint campaign event Wednesday just steps away from the flag that sits in front of the state Capitol building in Columbia.
“I want South Carolina to be celebrated not for the state that left America, but as the best state in America,” the senator from Kershaw County said. “It’s time we celebrated that heritage.” He showed a letter signed by eight mayors with Democratic Party ties (including Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley) which stated the flag should be “reverently moved to a museum.”
After years of debate, state legislators agreed in 2000 to a compromise that moved the flag off the capitol dome and placed it next to the Confederate Soldiers’ Monument. Neither Sheheen nor incumbent Republican Gov. Nikki Haley had been elected to seats in the Statehouse at that point. A handful of groups like the NAACP and the NCAA still boycott the state, saying the flag needs to be off the grounds entirely.