The Summerville Senate Slugfest

Editor's Note: In the interests of full disclosure ... while I live in Senate District 38, at the present time, I support neither of the candidates. In fact, at this point, I plan not to vote for either of them.

In recent months, the race for the GOP nomination for Senate District 38 seemed to take a backseat to more colorful primary battles around the state as incumbent Senator Randy Scott faced Mike Rose, who had been ousted from the seat back in 1997.

While Rose had begun an aggressive campaign, a benchmark poll I’d run on a number of Dorchester County races last fall for a planned political communication project, using Conquest Communication, suggested Scott held a significant lead over Rose. Survey results showed that 48% of voters surveyed held a favorable assessment of Scott, and negative ID of just 8%. By contrast, Rose scored a much weaker recognition standing, with positive name ID of 25% and negative name ID of 17%

If an incumbent has twice the name ID of their challenger, and only half their negatives, that’s usually a good sign. But that poll was conducted last fall, and a lot can change in six months – and in recent weeks, it seems to have done just that.

I moderated a candidates’ forum featuring Randy Scott and Mike Rose a few weekends back, and the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife (including the jerk from the Rose campaign who yelled at me because he didn't like the way I introduced Rose). Some video footage from that event later appeared on YouTube, courtesy of some tech-savvy Rose supporters. Media research indicates similar efforts have "viral" effects which have enabled them to play pivotal roles in some races, and accordingly, these videos have shown up on political websites and made the rounds among Rose supporters.

While the YouTube clips have yet to reach many viewers (traffic counts on YouTube reported just several hundred viewings), the fallout from Scott’s highly-publicized DUI arrest could present a serious challenge for his re-election campaign, depending on how the case should go.

Those who think a couple of bad weeks of misfortune will be enough to sink Scott’s re-election prospects should take note that he ousted Bill Branton, the then-incumbent Senator, by a two-to-one margin four years ago. Such feats are nearly unheard of in politics, and suggest that Scott is a tenacious campaigner. That his positive name ID, as shown in the polling, had changed little in the three years since his 2004 race suggests that he still has a lot of friends in his Summerville-based district.

For an incumbent to win, they only need fifty percent plus one of the votes cast in the upcoming GOP primary. Both sides of this race seem to expect a close and hard-fought race. Recent events are likely to make this even more likely, and we're pretty sure this will be one of the most closely-watched races in the June 10 primaries.

As for me, I'm content to sit back and watch this race spiral downwards, wondering if I'm the only one for whom “None of the Above” has become an appealing ballot option, just as it did in the Richard Pryor movie, “Brewster’s Millions”:





5 Response to "The Summerville Senate Slugfest"

  1. speaker's mafia 2/5/08 04:53
    The alleged drunk driver versus the Sanford wuss. Forgive me, but if I had a vote, I would go with the drunk guy. Besides, he has one leg. The video shows he was not drunk at all. Forget about it. It was a hit by the Governor and his people.
  2. Anonymous 2/5/08 13:08
    Randy Scott is going down. Mark my words.
  3. Anonymous 4/5/08 10:12
    Earl,
    I agree with the previous post that Scott will go down on June 10th. Scott has shown his true colors in recent candidate forums and the way he handled the recent dui arrest as if he believed himself to be "above the law". The Mike Rose negatives that you mention are largely a result or of his effort to rid our area and state of rampant corruption. I'll "hold my nose and vote for Rose" on June 10th.
  4. Anonymous 4/5/08 12:34
    1012, since you know so much about Rose's efforts to, as you put it, "rid our area and state of rampant corruption", please do tell me what he did in his past tenure. Who went to prison and what laws were enacted?

    Mike Rose was a self-serving obstructionist whose biggest accomplishment was to use his position to hustle EXCEL long-distance to everyone that Jim Miles' wife couldn't sell to first.

    How is that different than what you're talking about?

    Also, might I point out that Rose helped to fight many of Carrol Campbell's restructuring efforts. Now he wants to support similar efforts? Get real.

    The funny thing is that in this race, Rose has few people who were around him when he was in the Senate before. Just a bunch of stupid and short-sighted buffoons from the anti-growth crowd who he has fooled with a bunch of slick words.

    Randy hasn't done jack for this area, but with him, at least you know what you're getting. With Mike Rose, you never can tell.

    Earl is about dead-on with this one.
  5. Anonymous 5/5/08 17:57
    I believe the DUI may have been a set up.

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