There’s a lot to like about South Carolina third district congressional candidate Joe Grimaud. A Vietnam War fighter pilot, a successful businessman, wealthy … in one word; accomplished.
He’s campaigning to be a “Citizen Congressman.” Again, admirable and he says all the things that modern-day conservatives want to hear and I don’t doubt he means what he says.
There are, however, a couple of head-scratching annoyances.
In February, Mr. Grimaud was considering a challenge to Rep. Joe Wilson for the second district congressional seat. According to the Politico:
“I’m definitely going to run for something,” he said, noting that while he lives in Wilson’s district, the second, he has stores in the third.
Had he decided to run for the seat, it would have been the second time he would have faced Joe Wilson. Grimaud lost to Wilson in the 2001 special election to replace Floyd Spence.
So, Joe Grimaud is now running in the third, and here is the second annoyance; does he live in the district or not? I’ll point out that it isn’t required for a candidate/congressman to live in the district for which (s)he is running or serves.
Still… there is an uncomfortable taste in Mr. Grimaud listing a rented residence in Greenwood, while actually residing in Chapin. [His campaign secretary is his wife whose residence is listed as being in Chapin.] The campaign’s treasurer lives in Columbia and his bank is in Chapin.
OK, so what?
Mr. Grimaud wants to be the REPRESENTATIVE to the United States Congress for the people of the third congressional district. It can be argued that he wants to serve, no matter where and how – and that’s commendable – but he doesn’t appear to be making any committment to the district for which he wants to stand. There is no inherent connection to the district, no particular familiarity or cohesion.
Maybe that’s why Mr. Grimaud’s fund-raising has been so anemic. He’s loaned the campaign $301,000 which accounts for 99% of the monies acquired. The rest? He contributed. Not one dime of Mr. Grimaud’s finances have come from anyone but him.
Again, it’s admirable that he can (and does) put so much of his own money to run for office. If I had $300,000 and was running for office, I’m not confident that I would be so noble as to put up my own cash. In the end, it will be up to the voters in the third district to decide to what extent they’ll take a candidate’s absentee status in account.
There is a home-grown, district-focused candidate with solid conservative credentials and proven electability available. State Representative Jeff Duncan (44) is almost 30 years younger than Grimaud (72), an accomplished politician and successful businessman from Laurens. Duncan’s life, business, family and service has been in the third district.
You can’t buy that.