Sen. Grooms getting support from controversial PAC

gsmith@islandpacket.comJanuary 30, 2013 

Larry Grooms

  • Republican candidate Curtis Bostic will hold his first Beaufort County event from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at a supporter's home at 1508 Madrid Ave. in Port Royal. The public is invited to stop by for barbecue and to meet Bostic, a Charleston attorney and former member of Charleston County Council.

  • Another Republican candidate, John Kuhn, a former state senator, will speak from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday in Sun City Hilton Head. Sun City residents are invited to the closed event, sponsored by the Republicans of Sun City Hilton Head. Kuhn will also host the grand opening of his Beaufort County headquarters from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday at 10 Pinckney Colony Road, Suite 310, in Bluffton. The public is invited to meet Kuhn and ask questions.

  • Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert-Busch on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of Bobbie Rose, a Charleston resident who was defeated last year by incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Scott. Busch is one of three Democrats in the race. She is director of business development for Clemson University's Restoration Institute and sister of Stephen Colbert, the political satirist/comedian on Comedy Central.

A political action committee that accuses President Barack Obama of "queering" and "feminizing" the military is endorsing state Sen. Larry Grooms, a Berkeley County Republican, in his run for the 1st Congressional District seat.

On its website, the Washington D.C.-based GING PAC, which stands for Government Is Not God, claims, "The feminazis and queer activists (a term that gays often use to describe their radical agenda) have a good friend in Barack Hussein Obama. In fact, he's been described as the first gay president because of his total commitment to their political agenda."

The article refers to Obama's 2011 repeal of the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" law that banned openly gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from military service.

It also discusses a new Pentagon plan, praised by Obama, to lift restrictions on women in combat.

"Now, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided that women should have the 'right' to die in ground combat operations," it reads. "They'll also have the unique 'right' not only to be tortured but gang-raped by Islamic terrorists. The feminazis have long sought to destroy our military from within by feminizing the warrior culture of our Armed Forces."

The site also includes an endorsement of Grooms that encourages website visitors to make donations to the PAC to help elect him to the 1st Congressional District, which includes Beaufort County. It touts his socially conservative views and includes a 2011 video of him discussing his anti-abortion stance, his adherence to creationism and advocacy of limited government. The website says the PAC has endorsed other S.C. Republican lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan of Laurens, Rep. Joe Wilson of Lexington and former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of Greenville.

Grooms had little to say Wednesday about the PAC's endorsement. He would not say if he has accepted money from the group before or whether he will accept the money it is raising for him.

State financial disclosures show no previous donations from the PAC.

"We owe every man and woman who serves in our military the utmost respect and deepest gratitude for protecting this nation," Grooms said in a statement. "The decisions made about 'who serves where' should be made by military leaders, not this president."

Grooms completed a survey the PAC sent him, seeking its support of his congressional run, Grooms' campaign strategist said Wednesday.

Efforts Wednesday to reach GING PAC officials were unsuccessful.

Ryan Wilson, executive director of S.C. Equality, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political advocacy group, called Grooms' connection to the PAC unfortunate and discouraging.

"It concerns me that someone running for office is running this far to one side of the issue instead of representing all South Carolinians," Wilson said. "They (the PAC) are using LGBT folks as a wedge to drive us apart. It means we have our work cut out for us to help educate elected officials as to what our lives are like as LGBT people."

Zeke Stokes, a South Carolina native and spokesman for OutServe/SLDN, a Washington D.C.-based professional group for gays and lesbians in the military, said the PAC's comments do not align with South Carolina and America.

"I would call this kind of rhetoric incendiary and very much out of the mainstream of where most Americans are on these issues," said Stokes, who ran the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Jim Rex. "It has no place in the debate among those who care about the future of the military and this country."

Charm Altman, state chairwoman of the National Federation of Republican Women, said she did not like the PAC's objectionable language, but it did not change her high opinion of Grooms, whom she has known for years.

"I know that Larry Grooms is a good and decent Christian man," said Altman. "I have never heard him use those types of words in regards to others."

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