How to get elected Governor in South Carolina?

Wayne Washington with The State, has an interesting article on the long, winding, and difficult path to the governor's mansion:

Get elected to statewide office. Avoid scandal. Use your new-found name recognition as a springboard to a successful run for governor of South Carolina.

That seems like a solid strategy. It might even explain the expensive scramble for so-called down-ballot offices like lieutenant governor, treasurer or superintendent of education.

But there’s only one problem with the strategy of using the offices as a platform to win the governorship: It doesn’t work, at least not anymore.

He brings up a good point.

There have been numerous statewide officeholders who've attempted to move up to the Governor's office. In 2002, three down-ballot officers tried it (Condon, Miles, Peeler). In 1994, it was Theodore and Medlock. In 1986, it was Lt. Governor Mike Daniel. In five elections, three Lt. Governors, two Attorneys General, and one Secretary of State. All six of them lost their bids, and four of them didn't even clear the primary. Condon and Miles didn't even make their party's run-off.

This cannot be encouraging for those who see winning statewide office as a stepping stone. Especially since two incumbents, Andre Bauer and Henry McMaster, are certainly considered contenders for the crown in 2010. Ditto for Mike Campbell, should he upset Bauer for the GOP nomination for Lt. Governor.

However, two former members of Congress, Campbell and Sanford, with geographic bases in their respective metros, and two state legislators from rural districts far from any of the state's major metros, Beasley and Hodges, WERE elected governors during that time. Before then, Jim Edwards and Dick Riley were also legislators.

What does THAT say about how to succeed in the arena of South Carolina politics?

10 Response to "How to get elected Governor in South Carolina?"

  1. Mike Reino 20/5/06 21:35
    What does it say? It says that some people apparently don't get it, but they might soon.
  2. Michael Reese 22/5/06 13:57
    After many long hard hours that I have put in, studying this question, "How to be Gov. in SC?" These is what I found.....
    Put a big R beside your name, say you are pro-life, pro-family, and against gay marriage, and you can have a great shot!
  3. Earl Capps 22/5/06 14:26
    Mike, in two words ... you're right.

    Here in south carolina, those tactics help about as much as being terribly boring or alcoholic (or both) can qualify one to be a Massachusetts Senator.

    In other words, they seem to be effective. But an alcoholic seems to have as good odds getting elected here as being too far right would work in Massachusetts.

    Wait a minute - how'd they end up with Mitt Romney then?

    Some other ways to get to the South Cakalacy's gub-nah's house include ...
    Raise a lot of money,
    BS the people about where you stand/did stand on issues,
    Hope the incumbent really screws up,
    Count on the other candidate to have high negatives,
    Count on the other candidate's campaign to be inept, or
    Count on the other candidate's party base to fracture.

    Any of those certainly help, and they are all elements which were present in the losing campaigns of gubernatoral nominees from both major SC political parties in the last 20 years.
  4. Anonymous 22/5/06 23:26
    hey reese ... if that's true, then how did we get hodges?!?
  5. Michael Reese 23/5/06 08:55
    The reason why Hodges won is because our state is still more democrat than republican. Believe it or not, it is. It's a matter of getting the Democrats out to vote.

    Hodges was able to get the Democrats to come out because of a couple of key issues.
  6. Earl Capps 24/5/06 00:35
    If this state was Democratic at heart, then why does the GOP have such a staggering monopoly - both houses of the State House with large margins, both US Senate seats, and 7 of 9 constitutional offices?

    Hodges won for three reasons in 1998:

    1) Republicans on the far right who thought they didn't need the centrists in the party, and centrist in the party who thought they could thumb their noses at the far right. And both groups were too arrogant to realize they needed each other to win.

    That's why Republicans are lot quieter with their disagreements over Sanford, because they know they'd rather hate each other than elect Hodges II.

    2) Incompetent campaign by Beasley. Property tax rollback, welfare reform and crackdown on prison sentencing, with the strongest SC economy in history ... and he lost?!?

    If incompetence wasn't a major factor, then how come other GOP officers with tough fights won, especially Bob Peeler?

    3) Video poker. These people funded a months-long barrage of negative campaigning that drove up Beasley's negatives, and helped give support to Hodges. Without it, Hodges' campaign never would have been competitive.

    Poker money made Hodges campaign competitive, but Beasley's campaign lost the race, in what is a REPUBLICAN state.

    And such it will remain until the GOP finds a way to really screw up. Believe it, based on what I've seen, I wouldn't put it past them.
  7. Michael Reese 24/5/06 11:18
    You are exactly right about those 3 things. I'm telling you though, there are more Democrats in this state than Republicans. Now if they are they all registered?..... no, do they all come out to vote, no they dont. Just look at the demographics, race, ethinicity, etc... By the way, I'll be down in Charleston this weekend! Can't wait!
  8. Earl Capps 24/5/06 12:27
    ... and I may go Upstate this weekend. But call my cell at 843.532.8439 in case I didn't and maybe we can try to catch up in person for a few minutes.

    Saw your dad at the MCASC annual event last week in Columbia. As soon as I realized who he was and thought to tell him I'm a reader of your blog, he was gone out the door.

    Heck, I don't even think he waited long enough for the BBQ. That's a big, big cardinal sin in South Carolina!
  9. Michael Reese 25/5/06 08:50
    He left before the BBQ came out? That doesn't sound like my dad at all! haha
    I will def. give you a call, is there any specific candidate (D) or (R) that you would like for me to have on my website?
  10. Earl Capps 25/5/06 09:06
    Nope, can't think of any candidates. Just keep doing what you're doing.

    Hopefully, I'll catch ya this weekend!

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