Charleston mayoral candidate and current state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis is calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from its current place of prominence on Statehouse grounds. 

“I was proud to march with Mayor Riley over a decade ago on this issue and now it would be one of the greatest privileges of my career in public office to be able to vote to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds,” the Charleston legislator says. “I am doing everything I can to bring it down as soon as possible and things are starting to move.”

Political insiders expect Gov. Nikki Haley to call for the removal of the Confederate flag at a 4 p.m. press conference today. Haley has been a defender of the flag over the years, brushing off criticism of the Confederate flag’s placement in front of the Statehouse by proclaiming that none of the corporate heads she has spoken with in an effort to lure new business to South Carolina took issue with the flag.

The current Confederate flag was removed from the Statehouse in 2000 thanks in part to a compromise bill crafted by Charleston’s Glenn McConnell, a white Republican, and Robert Ford, a black Democrat. Ford resigned from office last year amid scandal, and McConnell was appointed as the president of the College of Charleston despite outrage over his support of the Confederate flag and notorious segregationist champion and restauranteur Maurice Bessinger

When Bessinger’s barbecue sauce was pulled from stores across the nation following the barbecue baron’s support of the Confederate flag and “biblical” slavery, McConnell’s one-time Confederate memorabilia store, CSA Galleries, began stocking this banned product, which the company’s site proclaimed was “America’s most controversial … and best tasting BBQ sauce. Boycotted by the politically correct.”

During the controversy over McConnell, Stavrinakis strongly supported CofC’s decision to install the Confederate enthusiast as school president.

As it stands, both the NAACP and the NCAA still boycott South Carolina because the flag continues to fly.

On Sunday evening, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, a one-time Daily Show correspondent and Jon Stewart’s fill in, discussed the Confederate flag on his show.

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