“Are you going to come out in support of Vincent Sheheen?”
That was the question raised to me yesterday in a telephone call from a friend. After all, the State Chamber re-upped on their Sheheen endorsement this week.
“No,” I said, “the Small Business Chamber doesn’t endorse candidates.”
That has been our position since I co-founded the organization ten years ago.
That policy has served us well over the years. While we side with or against elected officials on particular issues, we try to keep our efforts issue-oriented and not make permanent enemies. Well, unless it becomes obvious that the public official has absolutely no interest in our positions or having a positive relationship.
That’s eventually what happened with Governor Sanford. After he was first elected, we tried very hard to forge a positive relationship with his office. But after a few years, it became clear that Sanford had no real interest either in working with us or in taking on any initiatives to really help small business. The gloves were off from then on. But our organization still didn’t endorse his re-election opponent.
Did we make a mistake then and are we making a mistake now? I don’t think so. But we probably should have done more to check how Sanford voted in Congress, put him on the record with questions and then informed the small business community of what we found out before he was first elected Governor.
So that’s what we are going to do with both Vincent Sheheen and Nikki Haley. That is what the small businesses of this state deserve—to be informed by an organization fighting for their best interest every day. That’s what we do because we are “The Advocate of South Carolina Small Business”.