GOP attorney general candidates battle over prosecutor experience

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With less than a week to go before the runoff vote, Republicans Alan Wilson and Leighton Lord put their differences on air in Columbia.

Of course, the major topic was whether the attorney general should have experience as a criminal prosecutor. Wilson says he has it and Lord says the job requires more than that.

"The Supreme Court refers to the attorney general of South Carolina as the chief legal officer of the state," argued Lord. "That acknowledges that the attorney general has jurisdiction over all the lawyers and all the agencies of the state of South Carolina. Has jurisdiction over all the civil litigation, has jurisdiction over opinions. Is the chief securities commissioner. There's a lot more to this job than criminal prosecution."

Wilson has made his prosecution experience a hallmark of his campaign against Lord.

"There has not been an attorney general since at least the 1940's and I only went back that far because I ran out of folks that talked about it, that's not been a prosecutor at some point in their career," said Wilson. "It is vitally important that the next attorney general be a prosecutor. And in last Tuesday's elections, 63 percent of the voters that went and voted in this race went for a prosecutor in myself or Mr. Bolchoz."

Wilson referred to Robert Bolchoz, who came in third in the primary and later threw his support to Wilson.

This clash over background and experience is central to the attorney general runoff.

Both candidates have valid arguments. Being attorney general does require some administrative skill and most who have held the post in modern times have also been prosecutors at some point in their careers.

Voters will decide between the two candidates on June 22.

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