COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Former governor Carroll Campbell Jr., who helped turn South Carolina into a Republican stronghold and recruited big-name industries, died yesterday of a heart attack. He was 65.
Governor Campbell had been admitted to a residential facility to treat Alzheimer's disease this past summer, nearly four years after he announced he had been diagnosed with the illness. Margaret Gregory, Lexington Medical Center spokeswoman, said he was taken to the hospital early yesterday and died there.
Politicians credited Governor Campbell for working across party lines to get things done, especially spurring the economy.
''I think it would be nearly impossible to find someone who has contributed more to South Carolina than Carroll Campbell," Republican Governor Mark Sanford said. ''His efforts to transform South Carolina's economy and raise our state's income levels are still paying dividends today."
Governor Campbell was a four-term congressman before he took office in 1987, becoming only the second Republican governor in the state since Reconstruction. He easily won reelection in 1990; term limits kept him from running again in 1994.
In 1996, Governor Campbell had been on Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole's short list for vice president, but Jack Kemp ultimately got the nod.
''I am what I am," he told the Associated Press that year. ''It's all out there for the people of South Carolina to judge. I am proud of the record. I am proud of being sensitive to many different views. I was always willing to listen to others and respect that."
His two terms may be most remembered for the former real estate developer's focus on economic development, capped by luring German automaker BMW to build its first North American manufacturing plant near Greer. He also helped recruit Hoffmann-La Roche and
In 1993, Governor Campbell signed legislation that abolished many state agencies' governing boards, giving the governor power to appoint most department heads. Legislators had elected those governing boards and relinquished that power reluctantly after several years of pressure from the governor.
''He was a tremendous pioneer in government restructuring and moving South Carolina forward in economic prosperity," said Governor Campbell's successor, David Beasley, who was in China yesterday. ''He was second to none, bringing in BMW. He set the stage that South Carolina could get the best."
As governor, he also welcomed Pope John Paul II to Columbia, saw the first woman elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court, and shepherded the state through the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Governor Campbell leaves his wife, Iris, and two sons, Carroll III and Mike. Mike Campbell is running for lieutenant governor.