Sunday, Dec. 12, 2004
looking for gubernatorial candidate to challenge Sanford
SC Statehouse Report
12, 2004 - - For a guy who is leading a party in the South
Carolina political doghouse, State Democratic Party Chair
Joe Erwin is dripping with optimism.
He seems undaunted by his next big challenge, which is to
pit a strong candidate against popular Gov. Mark Sanford.
The incumbent, whose favorability ratings are off the charts
across the state, appears to be perfectly positioned to walk
to a second term in 2006.
But Erwin, who notes Democrats held their own in state House
and Senate races this year, reminds people that former Gov.
David Beasley's reelection chances looked good after two years
in office. But in his third year, things started to self-destruct,
which led to a 1998 victory by Democrat Jim Hodges.
"You're hearing more and more across the state - - and
not just from Democrats - - from people who are saying what
has this guy [Sanford] done? What has been accomplished? And
the answer is nothing - - or next to nothing - - but a lot
With a GOP-controlled House and Senate, Erwin says many are
amazed by Sanford's lack of legislative accomplishments. To
date, the governor has had no major legislative victories
and several well-publicized spats with lawmakers. Many, however,
say the relationship is maturing and predict Sanford to have
a more coordinated and effective effort with his Republican
colleagues in the coming legislative session.
WORLD: Shopping til dropping
Who's up and down
encourage your feedback. If you'd like to respond to
something in SC Statehouse Report, please
send us an e-mail. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. One submission allowed per month.
Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint.
Please keep your comment to 250 words or less:
"That should have been the perfect scenario to accomplish
great things but instead after two years, it has been a scenario
that has accomplished nothing," Erwin said. He adds that
if people across the state separate their personal view of
Sanford (a "nice guy") from his record as a leader,
Democrats could have a big opening in two years.
"While the governor is extremely popular, I think he
has alienated people in his own party," said Furman political
science professor John Simpkins. "There are a few voices
on the Democratic side who could offer some challenge, including
for disaffected Republicans."
Leading Democrats met in the last week to discuss strategic
problems and consider possible candidates to challenge Sanford.
With news that state Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum has decided
to run in 2006 for the job she holds, many party leaders and
others across the state are discussing possible Democratic
candidates. Among the names that crop up are:
- Jim Clyburn. Simpkins said a candidacy by the 6th
district congressman would be very interesting because of
his ability to solidify the black vote. Others, however,
say Clyburn's not interested yet and wants to keep his powerful
leadership position in Washington.
- Tom Moore. The Aiken-area state senator makes the
top of many people's lists and he reportedly is exploring
- Brad Hutto. The Orangeburg state senator, who isn't
well known around the state, has a lot of respect and is
one of the party's rising stars.
- Doug Jennings. The Bennettsville House member,
who served as a feisty leader of the House Democrats a couple
of years back, reportedly is open to considering a race
for governor if conditions are right.
- James Smith. The young Columbia House member is
the most recent House Democratic leader, but his service
in the National Guard may preempt a gubernatorial bid at
this point. Word is his unit may be called to Iraq.
- Joe Erwin. The chairman's name also has come up
in conversations as a possible candidate. Erwin, who admits
he's intrigued by the state's top job and won't completely
rule it out, says he has no plan in place to run now.
At this point, only Clyburn would be considered a household
name. But political observers know two years in politics is
a long time. Who, for example, would have considered Jim Hodges
to be a household name two years prior to the 1998 election?
Sanford has the definite and clear edge for 2006, but with
coordination and organization, Democrats could make the race
more than a cakewalk
12/12: An ill effect of holiday shopping
The latest from cartoonist Bill McLemore:
12/12: You missed the minibottle
To the editor:
Just a couple of points regarding what the General Assembly
did/did not do last year. (Commentary,
11/28). Big one for the largest industry in the state
that you left out - Minibottle on the ballot! We were only
8-10 years behind on that one. Also - sometimes not passing
more laws can be a good thing. "Less government"
is not always bad.
-- Duane Parrish, Charleston, S.C.
LEARN MORE DAILY
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
Leventis. Hats off to Sen. Phil Leventis, the last
declared winner of a seat in the General Assembly following
a 5-0 vote by the state Election Commission that declared
him the victor.
Tenenbaum. With all of the improvements made at South
Carolina schools over the last few years, it's a good idea
for Inez Tenenbaum to remain state superintendent instead
of running for governor.
Graham. Congratulations to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham
for bucking party politics and calling for the possibility
of higher payroll taxes to save Social Security.
Wilson, Anderson delegation. The Anderson legislative
delegation really needs to rethink putting Ron Wilson, the
former head of the Sons of Confederate Veterans with a murky
civil rights past, on the state Board of Education.
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get::
Hot issue -- an early peek at weekly commentary
on something really big. Last year, we continually beat
other news organizations in finding major trends in issues,
from teacher and budget cuts to wetlands proposals.
Agenda -- a weekly forecast of the coming week's
Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes look at what's
really going on in the General Assembly
McLemore's World -- an early view of our respected
cartoonist Bill McLemore.
Tally Sheet -- a weekly review of all of the new
bills introduced in the legislature in everyday language
Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down of major
political/policy events for the week.
Calendar -- a weekly list of major meetings for
the House, Senate and state agencies.
Megaphone -- a quote of the week that you'll find
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at: