The Latest And Not Greatest Candidate News From South Carolina

nikki haley

South Carolina has the lowest percentage of women in its legislature of any state in the union. The supreme irony is that the only elected woman whose voice remotely counts in the state is arguably the worst governor in the nation, and that’s saying something.

Nikki Haley is seeking her second term after a disastrous first term of ethics questions, purported affairs, a history of very late tax payments as bookkeeper for her family business, a questionable influence-peddling hiring by a local hospital, refusal of major education and stimulus money, refusal to expand Medicaid to a certain class of low wage earners (predicted to kill hundreds a year), the relentless trashing and misinformation campaign of the Affordable Care Act, pushing for vouchers and school choice, a net net loss of funding for public schools in her term and a total indifference to major polluters, (Lord know how many will die as a consequence), exceeded only by her disdain for the black community and, incredibly, women.

South Carolina probably ranks in the bottom five in more categories of quality of life than all but a state or two, nationally. And they are hanging on to number one in men killing women in greater numbers than anywhere else. What a nightmare record to run on. If you’re not a South Carolinian, that is. It’s red meat for the typical Palmetto state voter.

Yes, on November 4th, she’s going to kick her opponent’s hindquarters by a larger margin than the 2010 four percent, when she faced the same State Senator, Vincent Sheheen.

Sheheen was making a run of it until he joined the “open mouth, insert foot” crowd of inappropriate political mouthings. We’re not talking the verbal tripe involving rape and other women’s issues that certain Republicans engaged in last time around. We’re talking “stupid.” Sheheen’s dunce-cap verbiage was preceded by a similar vote-destroying flare-up from the mouth of Shelia Gallagher, a delightful, usually articulate, wonderfully CV’d Democratic candidate for State Superintendent of Education. She didn’t even bother to wait for the general election, when in her primary run, which she should have won handily, she decided that legalizing Marijuana was a wonderful issue to add to her platform, she gave up any chance of advancing to the general.

As for Sheheen, who was rolling along, trailing slightly in most polls, but with a puncher’s chance, he brought up the ultra-sensitive issue I call the “Flag-Flap.” Yes, the earnest State Senator, was apparently advised to throw the Confederate flag into the campaign mix. Sheheen wants the flag removed from the State House grounds.

A little background. The Confederate flag was, indeed, removed from the capital dome over 14 years ago. It now stands by a confederate monument on the same grounds. No word from Sheheen about the monument. In case you’re from the deep north woods and don’t know what the confederate flag looks like, you’ve seen it under the moniker of rebel flag. There are variations that are parts of many Southern state flags, so, as of 2014, it’s not an issue that will change many minds, one way or the other.

There’s also a guy named Tom Ervin running for governor as a petition candidate. Ervin is getting some ink as a ‘spoiler’ who could possibly divide the vote and end up governor. When pigs fly! The born-again attorney is getting some attention for being snarky toward both parties, having been a Democrat at one time in the state legislature and later opportunistically turning Republican when he saw the political power shift. He’s most recently been banging on Haley for supposedly forcing big businesses to contribute to her campaign to gain her political affections. And?????

I received an email today from the Sheheen camp, titled “tied race.” That poll must have come from Mrs. Doe’s eight-grade civics class because no legitimate poll gives Sheheen any hope of victory with Haley’s lead spanning 9 – 15 points. Vincent’s toast.

For the Democrats, there are no races that qualify as even “hopeful.” Tim Scott has his Senate seat locked up over the extremely likable Joyce Dickerson, as does Lindsey Graham, who will bury dedicated and trustworthy, State Senator, Brad Hutto. Both Republican Senate candidates have millions upon millions more dollars than their Democratic opponents. Democrat Tom Thompson will get slaughtered in the Superintendent of Education race by Molly Spearman.

Alan Wilson is a lock for Attorney General. Wilson is the step-son of “you lie” Wilson. His natural father was killed in a military accident. His opponent should be creating more buzz and potential votes. He’s Parnell Diggs, who serves as an inspiration for all of us. He’s blind and a successful attorney who serves as head of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Like most of the statewide candidates, I’ve met Mr. Diggs and heard him speak on several occasions. He makes sense, not necessarily a prerequisite for election in South Carolina.

The most charismatic and effective Democratic retail politician is an interesting young black politician, Bakari Sellers. Elected to the South Carolina House at 22, tall and telegenic, bright and energetic, Sellers should be doing better than he is in the Lt. Governor’s race against government lifer, Henry McMaster. Henry is a former U.S. Attorney and South Carolina Attorney General. McMaster can be beat. He lost his last race for the Lt. Governor and was unsuccessful as a primary candidate for governor in 2010. But, he’ll win this one.

Democrat, Ginny Deerin, about whom a peep is rarely heard, will lose by a large margin to 12-year incumbent, Mark Hammond, even though Hammond has but 413 likes on his Facebook page to Derrin’s 1,098. Deerin is 63 and has been a political consultant most of her working life. She pledges not to accept more than $100 in a single contribution. I’ve got a feeling that’s not been a problem. Nice lady, but a weak candidate to take on a guy who has already served a dozen years in the office.

Comptroller General and Commissioner of Agriculture are contested races that nobody cares about. Republicans will add them to the victory total. Democrats didn’t even bother putting up candidates for State Treasurer, Adjutant General and Auditor.

“Wiping the floor” might be the best appellation to apply to Republican prospects for statewide office. It’s not going to be a pretty picture. But enough melancholia for one submission.

I’ll talk more South Carolina races in upcoming posts and also spell out why 2016 will see a complete reversal in the South Carolina Democratic Party political fortunes.

Dennis S

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