Sunday, July 16, 2006
into gubernatorial race would hurt Sanford
SC Statehouse Report
16, 2006 -- Political prognosticators have a lot in common
with weathermen - - they can be wrong, but people keep coming
back to them for opinions.
As one academic who studies state politics and politicians
recently quipped, "What do I know? I was quoted as saying
(lieutenant gubernatorial candidate) Mike Campbell would win
Now comes state Sen. Jake Knotts, R-Lexington, who is collecting
signatures for a possible independent gubernatorial bid. Why?
Because he's frustrated with Gov. Mark Sanford's leadership
and, in particular, in a veto of a Lexington County hospital
Knotts' bid is just the kind of things to rev up a gubernatorial
campaign that seems pretty lackluster at this point. Of course,
Sanford and Democratic challenger Tommy Moore are still squirreling
away money for a big advertising onslaught in the fall. But
so far, watercooler conversations surely have a lot more to
do with the Iraq war, the heat, vacation and other things
than the race for S.C.'s top political leadership position.
The prognosticators agree Knotts' entry into the race probably
won't do much to the final outcome (a Sanford victory), unless
the race between Sanford and Moore gets a lot closer.
"The odds are that he (Knotts) would only get a few
percent of the vote," said Furman University's Jim Guth.
"And that would matter only if the election were close,
and the odds are it won't be terribly close."
Noted Bill Moore of the College of Charleston: "A [Tommy]
Moore victory would be a major upset - - his biggest problem
is lack of money
.In this case, the challenger may not
have the resources to get his message across to convince voters
that he is an acceptable alternative."
Still, Knotts' participation in the contest would hurt Sanford
because it gives hard-core Republicans who never would vote
Democratic with a GOP alternative. And moderate Republicans
and independents would have another choice, which would tend
to pull votes away from the incumbent.
Clemson's Bruce Ransom says a Knotts bid would have a chilling
effect on the Sanford campaign.
"It will signal that Republican grassroots exasperation
with Gov. Sanford is not to be taken lightly and dismissed,"
he said. "Clearly, Sen. Knotts will siphon-off votes
from Gov. Sanford, setting the possibility of a Sanford defeat
or scare in November. Sanford's reelection would not be a
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Because South Carolina has plurality voting in the general
election in November, the candidate with the most votes wins,
regardless of a 50 percent benchmark. Knotts' entry into the
race would be welcome to Sen. Moore, observers said, because
if Knotts took enough votes away from Sanford, Moore could
squeak by with more votes than the governor.
"If [Tommy] Moore raises the money and Knotts draws
off support for Sanford, it could be an upset," noted
Jonathan Smith of Presbyterian College.
But at this point, a Sanford loss seems pretty unlikely,
in part because of the power of incumbency, as observed by
Clemson's Dave Woodard.
"For Democrats to win, the voters would have to be upset
- they aren't," he said. "Third-party candidates
usually do well when voters are upset or some divisive issues
split them off. Again, that isn't the case this year."
While Knotts' candidacy might lower votes for Sanford, Bill
Moore said it could have an additional impact - - it could
excite the electorate enough that more Republicans vote, which
could help the GOP throughout the rest of the ticket.
Bottom line: Mark Sanford appears headed to victory. Barring
a major cash infusion to Tommy Moore or a galvanizing issue
that develops like the lottery or video poker, having Jake
Knotts in the race will make it livelier but the outcome won't
be much different.
But in the best spirit of a weatherman who gives the chance
of rain in percentages - - who knows? Not many people in July
1998 gave Jim Hodges much of a chance to beat David Beasley.
Andy Brack's new book of commentary, Bugging
the Palmettos, is available for $15.00. Click
here for more.
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
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for business subscribers. More: SC
7/10: Wrong on Earned Income Tax Credit
To the editor:
I can hardly believe that you wrote [Commentary,
7/9] that it will "help lift people out of poverty."
In point of fact it does EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE to the vast
majority of people that receive it....
I witnessed, first hand, for three years, the same people
come to the center to get help filling out the forms. In some
cases a father and mother of four or more children, did not
get married, simply because they knew that if they were married,
they would get credit for two children. Not married, they
each qualified for two. (I believe the term is "gaming
These people, throughout the United States, deliberately
do not earn more
than what it takes to qualify for IOC. Tell me how that helps
"lift folks out of poverty."
Everyone in government knows that the IOC is a liberal wealth
redistribution tax scheme to KEEP people in poverty and continuing
to vote for more and more democrat social programs. The perpetual
poor see liberals as their source of "getting something
The true war on poverty begins by helping people get a better
to get better jobs that earn more money.
-- Thomas B. Hatfield, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Publisher's note: The EITC has
broad bipartisan support at the federal level, in part,
because it works. You can read up on earned income tax credits
via the Center for a Better South's new book. Click here
7/9: Lawmakers should be more progressive on taxes
To the editor:
It seems to me that our State Legislature should get more
Progressive in their taxing regulations. For example, they
think nothing of increasing Sales Tax even though it is a
proven fact that Sales Tax is more regressive than any other.
The present Personal Property tax on automobiles is another
regressive measure in that it is capped at $300 and this is
Let's insist that such tax be made Progressive by making
it at least 1% across the board. This would allow a poor to
middle income Bread Winner, owning a $3000 rusted out Jeep
to only pay $30.00 while a well healed CEO owning the top
of the line $70,000 SUV would be paying $700...A fair way
to go and yes a much better way than reducing the Real Property
Tax on High Dollar Waterfront Homes by substituting a across
the board increase in State Sales Tax as being proposed by
the so called Property Tax Improvement Program.(THE SWITCH
-- Bob Logan, Little River, SC
- 6/19: Decent
wages, more needed, Mary Mack, St. George, SC
- 6/19: Better
attitude needed on education, Otto Wahlrab, Hilton
Head Island, SC
- 6/18: Look
at ability to pay, David Whetsell, Lexington, SC
- 6/14: Wealthy
control the debate, Municipal employee, name withheld
- 6/13: On
target, Bob Henderson, North Charleston, SC
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political news items from the past week:
Backlash: State Senators Harvey Peeler of Gaffney,
John Hawkins of Spartanburg and Larry Martin of Pickens, all
prominent Republicans, bravely took issue with their party's
smears against Democratic Sen. Tommy Moore, running for governor
against Republican incumbent Mark Sanford. Peeler, the Senate
majority leader, said some personal attacks on Moore were
"over the line" and "not correct" and
said Moore is "an honorable person." Hawkins said
Moore was always honest. And Martin said, "I don't think
you can call Tommy a spendthrift liberal by any stretch."
They stood up for what's right.
Fellows: A new group of Liberty Fellowships for 2008
were announced this week. The 20 recipients from all over
the state are chosen not only for their business successes,
but for their leadership that will joint hands with the others'
to attack challenges facing the state. They will be expect
to fulfill a sustainable community service project in this
two-year program sponsored by Liberty Fellowship's Hayne Hipp,
Wofford College and the Aspen Institute. New community and
state leadership should develop from the fellowships. Congratulations.
Courage: Former Gov. Bob McNair, in a new book by
Phil Grose called "South Carolina at the Brink,"
admits his responsible for the "Orangeburg Massacre"
in February 1968. Three S.C. State University students were
killed by state troopers in the civil rights protest over
a bowling alley that was segregated. "The face that I
was governor at the time placed the mantle of responsibility
squarely on my shoulders, and I have borne that responsibility
with all the heaviness it entails for all these years."
McNair was a strong governor, and his large law firm has been
a player in many statewide changes. His courage is all through
the new book.
Comparisons: Karen Floyd, the Republican nominee for
state superintendent of Education, pointed out in a mailing
that she won hands down in the "referendum on school
choice" between her and Bob Staton in the primary. She
is for school "choice" while Staton was for an improved
public school system. Conversely, it turned out in a Democratic
e-mailing a few days later, Floyd received 47 percent of her
contributions on her latest filing from out of state, including
one address in New York and one in Denver centers of anti-public
school funding by well-to-dos. (More: Barbecue
& Politics blog.) At the same time, Democrat Jim
Rex, her opponent in the general election, received almost
as much money in the last filing as Floyd, but only a piddling
amount, $3,670, came from out of state.
Friend or foe? For redevelopment's sake, South Carolina
is forcing five businesses off state land at Port Royal despite
first leases. The businesses will be booted off the state
land when the State Ports Authority sells the former port
land to private enterprise. In some instances, such as a marina,
the state may have to buy out the privately owned facility
in order to let the land be purchased for other private business.
Where is the state's law on encouraging business now?
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