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.
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?