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Candidate’s Rebel Yell for Confederate Flag Falls on Deaf Ears in South Carolina

In a crowded Republican field in South Carolina, Sheri Few stands out for all the wrong reasons.

Erik Perel/AFP/Getty

Sheri Few is not a household name, even in GOP circles. But an ad she’s running in support of the Confederate flag in South Carolina is getting plenty of attention in the special election to replace former Rep. Mick Mulvaney in the state’s 5th Congressional District.

In the ad, Few attacks state Rep. Tommy Pope and former state Rep. Ralph Norman, who both voted in 2015 to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. “They started a war on our history,” Few says in the ad.

“It’s time for leaders to stand up and stop political correctness, and fight for what we believe.”

Pope and Norman are two of seven Republicans running in the May 2 special election, along with Few. As members of the South Carolina House in 2015, they voted to remove the Confederate battle flag after a mass shooting killed nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, including South Carolina State Sen. Clem Pinckney. In the months following the vote, polls showed a strong majority of South Carolinians supported the decision, with just 33 percent still saying the flag should still fly in front of the capitol (PDF).

Even in the Deep South, reviving the issue of the Confederate flag is not a fight most Republicans want to return to. Dave Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University and veteran Republican consultant in the state, said he sees Few’s ad as an ill-advised attempt by Few to break out of the pack of Republicans running in the district, which runs from the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina, into rural South Carolina.

“I think there is a great sigh of relief that we’re past all that among Republicans,” Woodard said of the decision to remove the flag from the capitol grounds. “I just can’t imagine that this is going to incite a great deal of enthusiasm for her candidacy.”

Although some conservatives in the state might like to reverse the decision, Woodard said, “My advice to her is that it is a very small group. There is no groundswell for this.”

Few is running as an anti-establishment conservative Republican in the race. In her introductory video, she says she fought against “liberal common core brainwashing” and is running for Congress to replace “weak Republicans” and “reject political correctness.”

Pope and Norman are seen as the two frontrunners to replace Mulvaney, who left Congress this year to become Donald Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.