Jake Knotts fighting back against criticism

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The primaries in South Carolina are June 10, and one race has the incumbent locked in a three-way battle.

Senator Jake Knotts is under fire from all directions, including from outsiders like Mark Sanford.

Knotts lashed out at Sanford during his turn at the podium on the last day of the session.

"He had to get into the mix," Knotts said. "I think it showed how out of touch in the real world and society that our Governor is."

Knotts is fighting back after an op-ed piece by Sanford blasted Knotts as a Republican in name only.

Knotts says Sanford has no room to talk.

"I think the Governor needs to take a look in the mirror and see what a true rhino is," Knotts said. "He's a libertarian--he is not a Republican."

Others want Knotts out of the Senate, and they are challenging him in next week's primary. Sanford has endorsed one of them--insurance agent and former Lexington County GOP Chair Katrina Shealy.

Shealy said that she and Sanford agree and disagree on plenty of things, but she's always willing to voice her dissent to him.

"When we disagree, I have a tendency to tell him too. The Lexington Medical Center issue. I disagreed on that and I told him," Shealy Said. "I agree though that we need less government, lower taxes."

Also running for the seat is Mike Sturkie, a big game hunter who runs a contracting business near South Congaree.

"I'm running for the citizens and the taxpayers of Lexington County and for the business people," Sturkie said. "They feel like we can bring some business leadership to the state house to help our businesses become more efficient, more productive."

Knotts is not backing down from the heat, pushing his populist credentials on signs and on TV.

"Jake Knotts is not a puppet," Knotts said. "They want somebody up here that is going to do whatever they want done when they pull the string. That's not me."

Knotts is also taking shots from groups with ties to Sanford, such as South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

The organization is now running a TV ad against Knotts, and he claims they are targeting him because he organized the superintendents of the state to fight school vouchers.

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Posted by Jeremy Turnage