At a press conference at the Statehouse on Thursday afternoon, State Sen. John Courson (R – Richland) received the endorsements of two more Democrats in his bid to be re-elected for District 20.
Sens. Joel Lourie (D – Richland) and Darrell Jackson (D – Richland), whose districts neighbor the 20th, both gave Courson their support. They are the second and third Democrats to endorse Courson in recent days. . Lott joined Courson, Lourie and Jackson at the media session.
"We need more bi-partisan leaders like John Courson in politics," said Lourie in a press release. "No one has fought harder than John Courson to improve education and lead our State forward. I encouraged Senator Courson to run for President Pro-Tempore and I'm honored to stand with him here today and endorse his re-election campaign."
Referencing Harpootlian’s criticism, Jackson said, also in a statement, "[Harpootlian] reached a new low, and that's saying a lot for him," said Jackson. "Leon Lott puts his life on the line every day for the people of Richland County and he does an excellent job for us. And John Courson is a leader I am proud to work with in the Senate. To launch personal attacks on these two great men is just wrong."
While the endorsements are meant to help Courson in his race for re-election against attorney Robert Rikard, the actual target is just as likely Harpootlian.
Last week, shortly after Lott endorsed Courson via mailer, Harpootlian released a statement implying that Lott made the endorsement only after Courson appointed him to an advisory board that pays $12,000 per year, a charge Lott denied.
Prior to that, the Democratic Party released a picture of Courson sleeping in Senate chambers.
In September, after Harpootlian compared Nikki Haley’s appearance at the Democratic Convention to that of Eva Braun, Lourie, who is Jewish, told Patch he thought Harpootlian’s remarks were “completely inappropriate.”
Both Lourie and Jackson called for their fellow Democrats to look for a new chair. Harpootlian's term is slated to expire in May.
Others who endorsed Lott at the event were: State Representative Jimmy Bales, Columbia City Councilman Cameron Runyan, Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson and former Richland County Councilman Tony Mizell, and Richland County School District I Board Member Susan Dibble.