July 4, 2004
Happy July 4th!
Senate may become
SC Statehouse Report
4, 2004 - - If the recent state runoff elections reveal anything,
it's that the power of incumbency may not be as strong as
in the past.
In three high-profile Republican legislative runoffs, incumbents
- In a testy Charleston County Senate race, former S.C.
Rep. Chip Campsen beat Sen. John Kuhn by a 57-43 margin.
- In Dorchester County, long-time Sen. Bill Branton got
1,045 votes less than County Council Chair Randy Scott to
lose by a 2-1 margin.
- In Lexington County, the S.C. House's longest-term member,
Rep. Larry Kuhn, lost by 504 votes (2,929 to 2,426) to newcomer
On June 8, another well-known incumbent, House Majority Leader
Rick Quinn of Columbia, lost to newcomer Nathan Ballentine.
On the same day, six-term Rep. Teddy Trotter of Pickens also
lost to a newcomer.
But it may be too soon to draw a conclusion that being an
incumbent could spell political doom. Because dozens of House
and Senate incumbents face no challengers in the November
elections, the chambers will look much the same next year
and continue to be dominated by Republicans.
WORLD: Independence Day
Letters on the Palmetto Bowl and Confederate Flag
Winners and losers of the past week
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Veteran political observer Bill Moore of the College of Charleston
said incumbents who lost probably did so because of local
dynamics more than any sweeping trend.
"Each legislative race had its own peculiar characteristics
which explain why incumbents got defeated," Moore said.
Kuhn, for example, was "his own worst enemy," Moore
said, because of the way he bucked the Republican leadership
and put his foot in his mouth too often. A well-publicized
shouting match with First Lady Jenny Sanford over campaign
contributions may have been the straw that broke the camel's
back with voters.
Scott's popularity - and his public statements that he'd
work with Gov. Mark Sanford - appear to have swayed voters
to pick him over Branton.
In Lexington County, Koon sent signals he wouldn't run for
a 16th two-year term. But at the last minute, he decided to
run, which apparently didn't sit well with voters.
And Quinn, often immersed in state politics and policy, appeared
to forget all politics was local, as former U.S. House Speaker
Tip O'Neill often reminded.
Perhaps the most interesting dynamic to be generated from
the runoff results is how it will affect the make-up of the
Senate. With Campsen and Scott, Sanford will get stronger
allies than with Kuhn and Branton.
"You could probably argue that Sanford is getting a
marginally stronger position by getting two state Senate seats
that are close to him or ran on platforms to help him,"
said political science professor Neal Thigpen of Francis Marion
Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, agreed.
"It does make the Senate more Sanford-friendly."
But while the Senate may become a little more sympathetic
to the Sanford agenda, Moore reminds that Sanford hasn't achieved
much legislatively in the past two years.
"He has the 75 percent to 80 percent approval with the
general public, and probably has a 20 percent approval with
the Legislature," he said.
Recalling the stunt earlier this month of bringing two pigs
into the Statehouse chamber, Moore said, "Governors have
to work with General Assemblies."
Sanford needs to remember that.
7/4: Independence Day
This week's cartoon by our Bill McLemore:
6/28: NCAA should
stay out of politics
To the editor:
NCAA should stay out of the political arena and in the sports
arena. The last bowl game I watched was in 1970, so you can
see how important collegiate sports is to me. ACLU stands
for Anti-Christian Lawyers' Union. What does NCAA stand for?
-- J.W. Barker, Batesburg, S.C.
6/28: Ridiculous comparison
To the editor:
This is ridiculous to compare the two in deed! Leave heritage
and the Confederate flag alone. Tell the NCAA to take a hike.
Stop wasting my tax dollars on history gone by and for Pete's
sake get on with business. Stop belly aching about a 200-year-old
Yankee mistake!!! Thank you!
-- Wendy C. Spivey, Columbia, S.C.
6/28: Leave flag alone
To the editor:
Our State bowed to outside pressure and took the flag off
the State House and put it on the grounds in the Confederate
memorial. We should never touch that issue again. That should
be the end of it. As bad as the economy has been the last
three years, tourism has been up. Enough said.
-- Larry Wolfe, Lancaster, S.C.
6/27: Palmetto idea not good
To the editor:
The NCAA should lift its moratorium on the Confederate flag
flying at a Confederate memorial on Statehouse grounds. Not
that it will matter since any bowl game 2-5 days before Christmas
will not be well-attended. Even Clemson and FSU fans don't
go to football that week. The stadium idea is not and never
was a good one.
-- Ginger Johnson Sottile, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
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SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
Essie Mae Washington-Williams. What cajones! On the
week that the state carved the name of the biracial daughter
of the late Sen Strom Thurmond on his statue on the Statehouse
grounds, she announced she was seeking to become a member
of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
4th Circuit. Hats off to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals for denying a rehearing of the state's "Choose
Life" license plates.
Rep. George Bailey. First the Dorchester state representative
filed in both primaries to keep his seat. Now, he's been caught
fiddling with his resume. What's going on?
Senate District 30. With all the charges, countercharges
and lawsuits surrounding the primary for Sen. Maggie Glover's
seat, voters will end up the ones hurt as it drags on.
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