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After S.C. Governor Mentions Hunting Democrats with Dogs, His Spokesman Dismisses Backlash as ‘Whining’

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has led the state since 2017, has also compared Democrats to dogs in the past

<p>Meg Kinnard/AP Photo</p>

Meg Kinnard/AP Photo

Democrats in South Carolina are asking Gov. Henry McMaster to issue an apology after he said that he looks forward to the day that members of the party “are so rare, we have to hunt them with dogs.”

The Republican leader, 75, made the remarks at a state GOP convention on Saturday, according to NBC News.

A spokesman for the governor said that he meant the comment as a “joke,” the Greenville News reports.

“Governor McMaster has been making this joke at GOP conventions for years, and everyday South Carolinians understand that it's a joke," Brandon Charochak, the governor’s communications director, told the newspaper. "If South Carolina Democrat partisans can no longer bear light-hearted jokes made at their expense, then maybe they should focus their energy on winning and not whining."

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It’s not the first time McMaster has used the canine allusion. 

While at a “Faith and Freedom” GOP fundraiser in 2018, he said, per the newspaper: “Our Democrat friends are a lot like dogs. One on one they’re real nice, but in a pack they’re dangerous.”

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Democrats in the state are taking offense at his most recent comments.

In a statement, Chris Salley, chair of the Anderson County Democratic Party, called the insensitive remarks a “racially tinged dog whistle” and said he would join other Democrats across the state to ask the South Carolina state Law Enforcement Division to “open an investigation into this threat and incitement of political violence.”

"As a Black, gay man in America, I’ve had to be on guard for people trying to ‘hunt me down’ most of my life and I know thousands of people across South Carolina are forced to feel the same,” Salley said in a petition on Facebook. “This rhetoric emboldens violent extremists, chills political discourse, and needs to end.”

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