SC Votes: Ravenel endorses DeMint; Beasley hits campaign trail - - Columbia, South Carolina

SC Votes: Ravenel endorses DeMint; Beasley hits campaign trail

(Goose Creek-AP) June 9,2004 - Former US Senate candidate Thomas Ravenel on Wednesday endorsed three-term Fourth District Representative Jim DeMint's run for Senate at a Mount Pleasant news conference.

Ravenel, a Charleston real estate developer, stopped short of conceding the race Tuesday night , saying he wanted to wait for verified vote results, "If they are official, we will indeed concede, but I certainly want to congratulate Mister DeMint and Beasley, and it will be interesting to see what happens in a few weeks."

Wednesday afternoon Ravenel took a DeMint bumper sticker and placed it over his own on bumper sticker on his SUV. He also gave DeMint's campaign a $2000 check. DeMint says he and Ravenel talked before the race and he had agreed to support Ravenel if he had won. DeMint says that Ravenel voters are natural DeMint supporters because the candidates stressed many of the same ideas during their campaigns.

DeMint finished second to former Governor David Beasley in Tuesday's Republican primary for the seat being given up by Democrat Ernest Hollings.

Beasley got 37 percent of the vote. DeMint got 26 percent. Ravenel finished third, at 25 percent. Beasley will face off in the GOP runoff on June 22nd. Fewer than 5000 votes separated second and third place.

Beasley is making campaign stops Wednesday in Goose Creek and Mount Pleasant. He stopped by a company that designs and manufactures lighting fixtures. The Quoizel Company, which Beasley helped bring to South Carolina when he was governor, moved from Long Island, New York, in 1995, bringing about 125 workers. It has since added another 150 jobs.

Beasley says his campaign is about jobs. Beasley says he was not surprised by the endorsement. Beasley says DeMint and Ravenel have supported trade with China. Beasley says South Carolina needs fair trade rather than free trade with the Chinese.

DeMint also hit the trial Wednesday, making stops in Greenville, Charleston and Columbia, where he made a lunchtime stop at the Palmetto Pig restaurant in downtown. He told WIS News 10 he plans to spend time over the next two weeks raising money and seeking key endorsements.

DeMint says he will focus on winning votes in two areas of the state, "Charleston should be a good market for us. We did well in Beaufort. We can win the Lowcountry. I think we can win the Midlands."

The winner will face Democratic nominee and State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum in November's general election. She also made a stop Wednesday at the Palmetto Pig to talk about what she hopes to accomplish if elected in November.

Tenenbaum says she has a plan to enforce current trade agreements and to develop new jobs in South Carolina, "I want to work carefully with state and local officials to be the Washington voice to help implement that plan."

The candidates are vying for the United States Senate seat held by Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, the Palmetto State's senior senator, for nearly 40 years.

WIS News 10 is sponsoring a debate June 15th between David Beasley and Jim DeMint in the Republican primary runoff for US Senate. Submit your questions to either or both candidates to be read during the live debate. Watch the debate moderated by David Stanton on June 15th from 7:00pm to 8:00pm.

updated 3:01pm by Chris Rees

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