South Carolina voters get a chance to refine some of their primary decisions today as party nominations for a number of political offices will be finalized in runoffs. It’s the final exhalation before a four-month long run to the general election. As the playoffs work towards the championship, the state – the NATION – has to wonder: Can South Carolina politics get any more strange?
In the last thirteen months, there has been
– A disappearing governor who later admitted to infidelity, gave up his position as Chair of the Republican National Governors Conference along with any hopes for national office AND got divorced. His ex (former First Lady) becomes a political power broker.
– South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn says “the White House staff left him with the sense that a hostile environment in South Carolina is keeping the first lady from visiting” the Palmetto State
– A Lt. governor – and candidate for governor – who compared the poor to “stray animals,” and then took pride in the remark
– The State Treasurer lost $60 million.
– An Attorney General – and, yes, candidate for governor – who sued Craigslist and then gave up when counter sued
– During a Presidential address to Congress and the nation, a South Carolina congressman yelled “You Lie!” and became a hero of the right.
– A state office holder – and candidate for an even higher office – was rumored to gay.
– Two State Senators say publishing legislators votes on budget bills is “unconstitutional”
– The General Assembly votes to give $10 million to a golf tournament in Hilton Head
– “Romantic” text messages and emails from a male state office holder to a female candidate for another state office are leaked.
– A Congressional candidate said: ” ”We’re inbred like all South Carolinians. I did my duty by marrying an Iowan to improve the gene pool.“
– State Representative Nikki Haley – yet another gubernatorial aspirant – was accused of having extramarital relations by two men. The smear campaign was most likely orchestrated by one of Haley opponents for the governor’s office.
– A State Senator calls President Obama and Representative Haley “ragheads.”
– An unemployed veteran shocked the state by collecting a landslide victory over an established party operative in the Democrat primary for U.S. Senate.
– Citizens, outraged by politics and politicians, rose in unison to protest loss of individual freedoms to an ever-expanding government. The “Tea Party” in South Carolina was extensive, vocal and effective. Then it fragmented, suffered in-fighting and was infiltrated by powerful consultants.
– A Republican minority woman may well become the next governor of South Carolina; that’s right SOUTH CAROLINA.
There have been other, less … glamorous (?) happenings in the state, but, honestly, it’s like drinking from a fire hose, so forgive me if I left something out.
In all this chaos and so much negativity, Nikki Haley’s rise has been a very positive thing. Though bumpy and challenged legislatively and personally – to no ill effect – her election alone would be a public relations bonanza for South Carolina. As I wrote in a previous post, “Nikki Haley’s election – unlike and more so than that of any other candidate from either party – will have an impact on this state unseen in recent history.”
That ain’t bad, and it sure ain’t ugly.