COLUMBIA, S.C. – Dozens of protesters on both sides of the Confederate flag debate gathered outside the state house for the third day this week, vowing to vote out any lawmaker who votes against their wishes.
“I won’t never vote for them, again. I will never vote for them, again. I’ve got a list of all of them,” said Confederate flag supporter Ann Haley. “And I have called them, I’ve called them, I’ve called them. I’ll never vote for them, again – no.”
Those on the other side of the debate also said they wouldn’t vote to re-elect a lawmaker who votes against their wishes.
“I feel pretty strongly about this flag coming down,” said flag opponent Natalie Brown. “I don’t know what I’m going to do on that day, but I can tell you how I feel about it right now, I would seriously consider voting them out, yes.”
It’s unclear how – or if – the debate over whether to take down the Confederate flag outside the state house will impact the next election cycle, but University of South Carolina – Upstate political science professor Dr. Trevor Rubenzer said the impact will likely be minimal.
“People who are voting on it are likely to be voting together and in that type of situation, it’s much more difficult to single out people for their vote,” he said. “There are going to be people who will be upset, but I don’t think it’ll be the main issue driving votes in the next election.”
If the state House passes the three required readings of the bill, it could go to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk as early as Friday.