The folks over at FITSNews, where Sewell won their readers' choice contest for "Slow Zebra", called Sewell out for claiming that he was managing Floyd's campaign:
Jeffrey Sewell - editor of the website SC Hotline - has informed dozens of GOP activists that he is “managing” Floyd’s bid, which has received extensive promotional consideration from his website.
According to our sources, Sewell is telling Republican activists that his efforts will be “supported” by Washington-based pollster Jon Lerner and Atlanta-based consultant Robert Cahaly, and that Floyd will mount an “aggressive” bid that may include negative ads against her principal opponent, Columbia Attorney Kevin Hall.
Sewell made the same claim to yours truly a few weeks ago in a phone conversation, while he was trying to cajole and hustle me into dumping the event agenda for a GOP breakfast club that I had spent weeks organizing, wanting me to pull the plug on a half dozen other speakers who had committed a long time in advance. He started out with "come on, you've gotta work with me" ... and leading up to a thinly veiled threat of "you know she's going to win, and you want to be on the winning team ... ".
Those who know me know threats don't work on me. But judging from a number of comments he posted on the FITSNews site, he loves to make them.
It is hard to believe it was coincidence that the Blogland yanked from the listing of SCHotlie about 12 hours later. I started getting calls about it in a matter of hours (I'm so grateful for my loyal readers!). While it's his site and his right to do so, it seems a pretty short-sighted thing to do when they want to curry favor.
A few days later, he sent an email asking to "bury the hatchet". I wasn't interested in the offer.
In a phone conference a couple of days later between Karen Floyd, Robert Cahaly, and myself, several points were made clear:
1) Jeff Sewell was not running her campaign, nor was he part of the campaign organization,
2) They did not sanction him attemping to strong-arm my group's event, and
3) They felt badly that he had gone rogue on her behalf.
Since they went out of their way to address the matter, it seemed only fair to accept their apologies as legitimate and take them at their word.
It would seem as if the numerous displays of biased commentary in headlines praising Floyd and bashing Hall on SCHotlie are Sewell's attempt to stake a claim with the Floyd camp, however uninvited and unwelcome such efforts may be. It certainly raises concerns about what Sewell's next moves to influence this race entail.
We can understand one wanting to be part of something, but sometimes one can't have it all, and it may even be better to stay neutral, as the Blogland has done thus far in this race. But apparently Sewell sees it differently. It's unfortunate that he has chosen to use his abilities - and SCHotline - to run sloppy attack tactics which only help muddy the waters and further divide a party which will face one of its toughest electoral challenges in the 2010 election cycle.