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State Rep. Bakari Sellers

“Rape victims are not distractions and they are definitely not a special interest group. … The governor needs to take a long look in the mirror and decide whether or not she stands by these comments. If she does, then I will make sure every single female voter in this state is aware of it. That’s a promise," Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Denmark, said.

It’s no secret one area lawmaker is viewed as an up-and-comer on the state and possibly national political landscapes.

Add to that one more media endorsement.

Washington-area political news outlet Politico on Friday named state Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Denmark, as one of its 50 politicos to watch. Sellers has been tagged as an elected state leader on the verge of national prominence by several other publications and websites, including Time Magazine, in recent years.

“This is a great honor,” Sellers said in a released statement. “I am truly humbled to be named alongside giants like Ambassador Susan Rice, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.”

The story featured Politico’s chosen list of movers and shakers, including congressional challengers, political operatives and players in a second President Barack Obama term or a Mitt Romney presidency.

Sellers feels the personal recognition is also positive news for the state of South Carolina.

“It is a level of expectation that people have of you,” Sellers said. “I boil it down to simple things. There are people who will read this and envision the possibilities for their own children or grandchildren.

“I would like to show that you can do things that change people’s lives. I don’t think I’ve done enough yet.”

The story noted Sellers has emerged as one of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s chief critics this year. The 27-year-old legislator hasn’t been shy about taking his fellow Bamberg County native to task over issues from health care to transparency in government.

“It has been a fast rise for the state representative from central South Carolina, who is the son of civil rights activist Cleveland Sellers — and there are strong hints that he has higher ambitions — perhaps for his state’s highest job,” the story said.

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Sellers said he doesn’t know what the constituents in his House district think when they read such accolades.

“It is helpful when I go to Washington and we’re trying to fight for tax dollars for South Carolina,” Sellers said. “If they feel you are doing positive things and they know your name, they are more inclined to help.

“I love the people of my area and I’m not going anywhere. I pray a lot and ask others to pray for me. I just take it one day at a time.”

Addressing Sellers’ possible aspirations for higher office, Politico quoted an earlier Time magazine story.

“I do love our lieutenant governor’s office,” Sellers said in the article. “That would be a good window to look out of. And the governor has a nice house. But we’ll see.”

Contact the writer: psarata@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5540.

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