Lee Bandy, a South Carolina political fixture, dies at 78 - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Lee Bandy, a South Carolina political fixture, dies at 78

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Lee Bandy Lee Bandy

The State's political reporter and columnist Lee Bandy has passed away at the age of 78, according to family members.

Bandy, who officially retired in December 2006, spent four decades at The State. Half of that time, Bandy covered national politics as the newspaper's chief Washington correspondent.

The Asheville native and Bob Jones University graduate grew to become a leader of the White House Press Corps. He was on a first name basis with presidents, governors, and other major political figures including senators Strom Thurmond and Fritz Hollings.

Bandy wrote thousands of columns and continued to write after his retirement.

Over the past few years, he suffered from the effects of Parkinson's disease.

Lee Bandy was 78.

A funeral is set for this Saturday. The service is at 10:30 at First Presbyterian in downtown Columbia.

Palmetto State politicians are already responding to Bandy's death via various statements. Here are a few we've received.

Gov. Carroll Campbell's family

"We are deeply saddened at the passing of our friend Lee Bandy.  Lee was a true institution in the world of South Carolina political reporting and covered every major political story and figure in modern state history.  From Carroll to Strom Thurmond to Fritz Hollings, Lee was both tough and fair in his reporting of all.  On a personal level, Lee was there from day one of Carroll's time in Congress through his years as governor, which resulted in not only a long professional relationship, but good friendship.  Lee's coverage of Carroll's legacy at the time of his passing, remains very special to our family. There will certainly never be another Lee Bandy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary and the Bandy family at this difficult time."

Sen. Lindsey Graham

"South Carolina has lost one of her strongest and most capable voices.  He explained what was going on in South Carolina government and politics with clarity and integrity.  Lee's criticisms stung and his praise was appreciated.  There was never any doubt Lee called it as he saw it.  He was a great role model for young reporters and will be missed."

Gov. Nikki Haley

"Lee Bandy was a South Carolina treasure. Over the course of a career that spanned decades, Lee set the gold standard for insightful coverage of government and politics, and he leaves behind a legacy that touches thousands. Michael and I lift up the Bandy family, and Lee's many friends, in our prayers."

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