COLUMBIA - Glenn Lindman acknowledges the irony in his quest to unseat incumbent Stan Spears in the race for adjutant general, the elected post that oversees South Carolina's Military Department.
Mr. Lindman argues the job should be appointed by the governor and subject to term limits to make sure favoritism and politics don't enter into military decisions.
Staying with the current system means "we have an adjutant general for life," the 46-year-old Democrat from Woodruff says.
While that is somewhat of an exaggeration, longevity has a role - there have been only 27 men as adjutant general since 1640, Guard officials say. Mr. Spears' predecessor, the late T. Eston Marchant, served 16 years in the post.
Mr. Spears is running for his fourth term and says the current system works well.
"I don't have to go to the Pentagon, the Department of Army or the National Guard Bureau and introduce myself to them," said Mr. Spears, who is the longest-serving adjutant general in the United States.
Gov. Mark Sanford has tried to change several elected constitutional offices into offices appointed by the governor, but his moves at reorganization have failed to gain traction in the Legislature.
The adjutant general manages the 13,500-member Military Department of South Carolina, the state's Emergency Management Division and the State Guard.
Born in Rock Hill, Mr. Spears graduated from South Carolina Army National Guard's Palmetto Military Academy. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1959 and has served in the South Carolina National Guard since 1957.
He retired as a brigadier general after 32 years in the Guard and retired as senior vice president with insurance brokerage firm Marsh-McLennan Inc. after 27 years.
Mr. Spears originally was elected to adjutant general as a Democrat, but he switched parties during his first term.
Mr. Lindman, a veteran of 24 years in the South Carolina Guard, active duty Army and Army Reserve, retired as head of a computer company in Greer when he was deployed to Iraq in 2004.
He says his experience in recent combat, and his business background, would serve the Guard well.
"I know what they need in a combat zone," he said.
Mr. Lindman was awarded a bronze star for his service in Iraq, where he was a policeman who provided security for military convoys.
Stanhope Sifford "Stan" Spears
BORN: April 23, 1937, in Rock Hill, S.C.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, University of South Carolina; graduate of South Carolina Army National Guard's Palmetto Military Academy
CAREER: Retired as major general after 43 years in the Guard
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Adjutant general, 1995-present
PERSONAL: Married, two children
BORN: May 26, 1960, in Highland Park, Mich.
EDUCATION: Attended colleges in New Jersey and Limestone College
CAREER: Served 24 years in the Army, Army Reserve and South Carolina National Guard
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None
PERSONAL: Married, five children