The Buzz

The Buzz: A candidate’s sermons go silent

thebuzz@thestate.comApril 26, 2014 

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Republican U.S. Senate challenger Det Bowers was a pastor for a dozen years at Christ Church of Carolinas – but good luck finding one of his sermons.

Bowers’ words from the pulpit have been removed from the Internet. Links on the Columbia church’s Facebook account to Bower’s sermons lead to inactive pages.

The links were disconnected on purpose, the Bowers campaign said.

“Dad did not want his political campaign to affect anything at his previous pastorate, and he did not want to benefit, personally, from the books and audios he had in the marketplace,” said his son and campaign finance director, Joel Bowers.

Asked if taking down the sermons was meant to protect the campaign, Joel Bowers said: “I don’t disagree that it can be perceived many different ways.”

But, he added, the links were disabled for the reasons that he stated.

One of Bowers’ sermons stirred controversy last week, when Politico reported about a sermon where Bowers said many husbands leave their wives because they spend too much time with their children.

“Do you hear me ladies? It is an abominable idolatry to love your children more than you love your husband, and it will ruin your marriage,” Bowers said in an audio recording obtained by Politico. “And yet you blame it on him because he ran off with some other woman! He did run off with some other woman, and you packed his bags. All of his emotional bags, you packed for him.”

Bowers – considered one of the more serious GOP primary challengers to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of Seneca – said he simply was sharing information gathered after counseling numerous couples.

The Buzz asked if the Bowers campaign would share some of the sermons.

“Not at this time,” Joel Bowers answered.

Will Ervin’s label stick?

The battle over who can wear the “Republican” tag looks like it will continue for some time.

Gubernatorial petition candidate Tom Ervin is not backing down from calling himself an “independent Republican” – though the state GOP party has called that false advertising.

Ervin, a former lawmaker and judge from Greenville, also criticized the state party for using the spat to try to raise money.

“I believe this candidate is now intentionally misleading YOU and other voters,” the email pitch from S.C. GOP chairman Matt Moore reads. “Not only is he NOT a Republican under the law, he’s not one in practice, either. He’s for expanding Obamacare and raising taxes on hard-working families.”

Ervin said the last two points are untrue. He has called the Affordable Care Act “unconstitutional” and vowed to fight for lower taxes. But he has not ruled out boosting South Carolina’s gas tax since many out-of-state motorists would pay the higher tax, too.

Moore told The Buzz the GOP is “studying our options” about its next step concerning Ervin’s use of the R-word. “My duty is to stand up for the Republican Party and truly conservative candidates like Gov. Nikki Haley.”

Ervin spent $4,243.12 to file for the Republican primary in June and, then, backed out to run as an independent on the November ballot, giving himself more time to spread his message.

Despite that change of heart, Ervin won’t be getting his GOP filing fee back.

“The S.C. State Election Commission allowed no parties to request refunds after the certification deadline (on April 7),” the GOP’s Moore said. “Since Mr. Ervin withdrew on April 11, the state kept his fee.”

Trading cap and gown for helmet and fatigues

Thomas Smith, the son of state Rep. James Smith, will sacrifice the pomp and circumstance of high school commencement for the rank and file of the military to attend Army Basic Training at Fort Benning, Ga., in May.

“He always felt strongly about not missing this opportunity in his life,” the Richland Democrat said, adding his son was thrilled after his first drill earlier this month – on a weekend with bad weather. “I’m real proud of him.”

Thomas is joining generations on both sides of his family in serving in the military, said Smith, a state. National Guard major who was deployed to Afghanistan for a year in 2007.

Thomas will attend The Citadel to study mechanical engineering. Missing the milestone ceremony from Heathwood Hall might be the right decision for Thomas Smith, but it’s not easy for everyone.

“I almost think it’s harder for his mom and dad,” James Smith said.

Buzz Bites

•  Faith for Hillary, a new political-action group pushing for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for the White House in 2016, will hold a breakfast Friday at Columbia’s Clarion Hotel. State Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, a Clinton supporter in the 2008 presidential election, is among the ministers invited, The Buzz has learned. Another group, Ready for Hillary, held a reception in February in Columbia.

•  Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is mulling a 2016 presidential run, is scheduled to headline a “Pastors and Pews” event Friday in Greenville. The visit will be Huckabee’s first to South Carolina as a presidential hopeful since he finished second in the state’s 2008 primary behind eventual GOP nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. A group of S.C. pastors visited Huckabee in Arkansas in December. The American Renewal Project, which sponsors the events, brought another White House prospect – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – to Columbia in November.

•  U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, will be the guests at U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn’s “World Famous Fish Fry” on Friday evening. Kaine, considered a possible VP pick for Clinton if she runs, is the keynote speaker at the S.C. Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner earlier Friday night. Gabbard will headline the party’s convention on Saturday. Last year, the Columbia Democrat’s annual fish fry featured Vice President Joe Biden.

•  Former Democratic S.C. Lt. Gov. Nick Theodore said he plans to release a political memoir next month titled “50 Years of Trials and Triumphs: South Carolina’s Evolution.”

Staff writer Cassie Cope contributed

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