S.C. Statehouse Report Special Report
May 9, 2004

MONEY IN SC POLITICS

Top Senate fund-raisers (Incumbents in bold)
Member Party Amount raised, 1st Q Cash on hand
*Allen, Chuck R $162,750.19 $136,881.55
Kuhn, John R $141,150.00 $105,268.71
**Norwood, Tim D $132,931.74 $16,100.86
***Wukula, Steve D $102,475.00 $74,670.84
Leatherman, Hugh R $86,542.53 $253,693.76
#Jones, Richard R $85,263.00 $62,727.09
##Lourie, Joel D $76,368.00 $187,185.25
##Wingate, Ken R $67,831.10 $99,843.57
McConnell, Glenn R $62,517.03 $217,826.21
Hawkins, John R $61,263.77 $109,886.34
* Loaned $100,000 to campaign
** Loaned $199,500 to campaign; running in Democratic primary for Seat 30 against Sen. Maggie Glover.
*** Loaned $100,000 to campaign; running against Sen. Hugh Leatherman.
# Running against Sen. Phil Leventis
## Running for open seat 22.

Senate races attract money
From the 5/7 paid subscriber edition of S.C. Statehouse Report
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MAY 7, 2004 -- A couple of weeks ago, we profiled the money behind House races. In general, we found a lot of incumbents who had less than $10,000 in their campaign coffers.

But in the S.C. Senate as of mid-April, most GOP and Democratic incumbents had healthy balances of more than $20,000.

In the first quarter of this year, the amount of money raised by some Senate candidates has been amazing, particularly by challengers. (See chart to the right).

Two well-heeled Democrats and one Republican (a former House Democrat) have taken out loans of at least $100,000 to win their seats.

Top Senate war chests
(incumbents in bold)

Member

Party Cash on hand
Leatherman, Hugh R $253,693.76
McConnell, Glenn R $217,826.21
Courson, John R $193,175.87
* Lourie, Joel D $187,185.25
Smith, Verne R $169,806.20
** Allen, Chuck R $136,881.55
Setzler, Nikki D $117,810.82
Hawkins, John R $109,886.34
Kuhn, John R $105,268.71
***Wingate, Ken R $99,843.57

* Member of House running for open Senate Seat 22
Former Democratic House member running for open Senate Seat 3
*** Running for Senate Seat 22

Lawyer Chuck Allen of Anderson raised more than $162,000, but also loaned the campaign $100,000 to try to win the open Seat 3, currently held by GOP Sen. Bob Waldrop. Newcomer Tim Norwood of Florence has raised -- and spent -- thousands to try to beat fellow Democrat Maggie Glover in the primary. And Florence resident Steve Wukula is taking on the man with the most money on hand, Sen. Hugh Leatherman in what will likely be the most expensive race of the season.

Another race to watch is Senate Seat 22. Republicans Ken Wingate and Barney Giese square off in the GOP primary for Giese's father's seat. So far, Wingate has done best with money, but Giese is close. The winner wll face House Rep. Joel Lourie, who has more money on hand than any other Democratic incumbent or challenger.

Meanwhile, there are exceptions to the rule that incumbent senators have a lot of campaign cash on hand. Exceptions included Republican Sens. Danny Verdin ($491.03), Bill Mescher ($752.20) and Greg Ryberg ($1,383.74) and Democratic Sen. John Drummond ($2,437.21). Only Ryberg faces no opposition.


House chase for money isn't as swift as you may think

APRIL 25, 2004 - - A big rule of thumb in politics is to make sure you've got enough money in a war chest to fend off a challenger.

But 17 members of the SC House don't seem to follow that belief. Each - - including four who have opponents in coming primary or general elections - - has less than $1,000 of campaign funds in the bank.

"I'm a firm believer that votes win elections, not money," said State Rep. Robert Brown, D-Ravenel, who has $183.95 in his campaign account. "If I do a good job and stay in touch with my constituents, I believe the votes will be there."

In the fund-raising cellar
Member Party Cash on hand (* indicates facing a challenger)
Smith, Garry R
- $16,959.42
Snow, Bubber R
$21.88 *
Howard, Leon D
$76.48 *
Smith, James D
$120.66
Mahaffey, Joseph R
$153.79
Hosey, Lonnie D
$165.25
Davenport, Ralph R
$179.62
Brown, Robert D
$183.95
Mack, David D
$289.23
Herbkersman, Bill R
$415.80
Moody-Lawrence, Bessie D
$429.56
Rhoad, Thomas D
$759.03
Neal, Joe D
$844.39 *
Koon, Larry R
$910.33 *
Perry, Skipper R
$913.45
Allen, Karl D
$976.57
Hayes, Jackie D
$998.00

Brown is breathing easier these days because a challenger was disqualified for having a felony conviction. But he admits had he had a challenger, he would have raised money.

Like Brown, Republican Rep. Bill Herbkersman of Bluffton doesn't want to be caught up in the money game. But Herbkersman, a first-term member who has only $415.80 in his campaign coffers, has proved his fundraising mettle though. In his first election, he raised almost $100,000 to beat Democrat Steve Cheney.

"I don't like asking people for money," he said, adding that if he faced a challenge, he would get on the phone and have fund-raisers to keep his job.

Rep. Jay Lucas, a Hartsville Republican, hasn't faced a challenge in several years. In his first race in 1998, he recalls he won by 22 votes. That spurred him to raise more than $50,000 to fend off any 2000 challenger. None materialized. Since then, he says he hasn't actively sought money. He's used his account, which has dropped to $31,899.68, to send legislative updates and material to constituents. But it's still enough of a stockpile to scare off potential opponents.

"By now, people are going to vote for me based on the job I do, not how much money I spend," Lucas said.

Top House war chests

Member

Party Cash on hand
Cato, Harry R
$150,501.87
Wilkins, David R
$141,949.69
Harrell, Bobby R
$92,692.46
Harrison, Jim R
$49,953.18
Young, Annette R
$47,686.41
Quinn, Rick R
$45,215.99
Cobb-Hunter, Gilda D
$43,769.06
Taylor, Adam R
$40,558.04

What's refreshing in looking campaign disclosure report for House members is how many don't have huge stockpiles of cash. Of the incumbents running for re-election who filed campaign disclosure reports by April 10 (three didn't send in reports in time), 67 House members had less than $10,000 in their campaign accounts. While most don't face challengers, their accounts seem to illustrate many are in public office for public service.

But by not having a cache of campaign cash, they are playing with fire. If potential challengers realize an incumbent is short on funds, that may be enough to spur them to run.

Four incumbents with low cash now face challengers.

  • New Republican Bubber Snow of Hemingway (a recent party-switcher) reported just $21.88 cash on hand. Two men are vying for the Democratic nomination to run against him.

  • The chamber's longest-serving member, Republican Larry Koon of Lexington, faces two challengers in the GOP primary. Koon reported $910.33 in the bank. One of his challengers has more than $25,000 cash; the other has about $3,300.

  • Democratic Rep. Leon Howard of Columbia reported $76.48 on hand. Democratic Rep. Joe Neal of Hopkins reported $844.39 on hand. Neither of their opponents filed a disclosure report.
Top House fund-raisers
Member Party Amount raised, 1st Q Cash on hand
Wilkins, David R $125,266.91 $141,949.69
Harrell, Bobby R $75,868.57 $92,692.46
Quinn, Rick R $34,640.00 $45,215.99
Cooper, Dan R $18,650.00 $18,733.44
Cato, Harry R $16,500 $150,501.87
Rivers, Thayer D $15,675.00 $12,354.46
Coates, Marty R $15,525.00 $13,656.08
Cotty, Bill R $14,923.00 $33,410.19
Talley, Scott R $14,800.00 $27,146.70
Sandifer, Bill R $14,000.00 $38,585.14

The data, however, shouldn't suggest all members of the House are slow to raise money. Just look at the leadership:

  • House Speaker David Wilkins, R-Greenville, raised $125,266.91 in the first three months of the year. He has $141,949.69 on hand.

  • House Ways and Means Chair Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, raised $75,868.57 in the first quarter. He has $92,692.46 on hand.

  • House Majority Leader Rick Quinn, R-Columbia, raised $34,640.00 in the first quarter. He has $45,215.99 in the bank.

  • House Labor, Commerce and Industry Chair Harry Cato, R-Travelers Rest, raised $16,500 in quarter one. He has a whopping $150,501.87 on hand.

Two other big House leaders reflect little in their accounts. Speaker Pro Tem Doug Smith, who faces his first challenge since 1994, has $5,561.37 in his campaign account. House Democratic Leader James Smith, who doesn't have an opponent, reported $120.66 on hand.

Bottom line: Incumbents may still have a money advantage over challengers because they have a capacity to raise money quickly - - if they face a challenge, they can get a fund-raiser together and score money from corporate interests. But anyone thinking of running in the future shouldn't be put off too much. Opportunities exist because most House members aren't rolling in the dough.


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