In full disclosure, I worked with Kara at WIS for several years before she left in 2010 for law firm Collins and Lacy — though as she mostly anchored Sunrise and I worked the night shift, we didn’t exactly spend a whole lot of time together.
Meador and Knotts already have a somewhat strained history. In 2009, a WIS investigation conducted by Meador showed that Knotts received a $2,000 consulting fee from convicted felon (and prominent Republican donor) Weldon Waites, who helped run a security firm that stopped paying its employees. What’s more, Meador reported that Waites’ company paid $32,000 for two prime tailgating spots outside of Williams-Brice Stadium — spots owned by none other than Jake Knotts.
At the time, Meador told me she made sure to drive 5 miles under the speed limit in Lexington to ward off potential retribution from Knotts’ law enforcement buddies. There’s no telling what else Meador uncovered during her investigation into Knotts, or whether she plans to use that information in her bid to unseat the longtime senator.
“One of the issues that’s important to me is character,” said Meador. “I think some of my reporting inspired me to jump into the race, because I have questions about some of the senator’s decisions along the way.”
However, Meador made clear that her investigation into Knotts shouldn’t be construed as having an anti-Republican motive. “I am extremely conservative, and I am a Republican,” she said. “But as a reporter, you don’t want any biases in there and I think I did a good job of showing that.”
Meador likely intends to position herself as a more credible alternative to previously-announced challenger Katrina Shealy, a noted tea party supporter. “The race was shaping up to be a rematch of the grudge battle in 2008, and people are looking for a different choice,” Meador told Palmetto Public Record.
By the same token, she and Shealy could end up splitting the anti-Knotts vote and end up paving the way for the senator’s reelection. Either way, this race just became one of the most interesting 2012 primary battles in South Carolina.