SC gov hopeful proud of the Confederacy, backs flag removal

Catherine Templeton (Provided)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A Republican running for South Carolina governor says she's "not backtracking" in her support for lawmakers' efforts to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds but says she's proud of the Confederacy.

“Not on my watch,” Templeton said at a meeting in Pickens County following a question about the removal of Confederate monuments and “anti-southernism.”

She told those in attendance at the grassroots GOP gathering that you cannot rewrite history.

"We're standing on the shoulders of giants in South Carolina. It's why we are who we are and where we are. I very much respect the men who gave their homes, their fortunes and their lives to put us in this position," she said.

Hours after speaking to a grassroots GOP gathering in the conservative Upstate, Templeton told The Associated Press on Tuesday night she's "proud of the Confederacy." But Templeton says she still stands by a 2015 document expressing support for then-Gov. Nikki Haley and state lawmakers for removing the flag in the wake of the massacre of nine black worshippers at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church.

Templeton says killer Dylann Roof "took our symbol and turned it into hate" but says she's proud of the state's history and won't apologize for that.

Gov. Henry McMaster is also running in 2018. His campaign declined to comment.

** ABC News 4 contributed to this report.

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