DeMint's demented primary opponent

In the world of politics, one sees lots of strange things, but one of the strangest recent sights is that of Susan Gaddy, who filed at the last minute to challenge Senator Jim DeMint in the June Republican Primary.

It happens that Gaddy has a long record of political activism - as a Democrat. Most recently as the Democratic precinct President from Daniel Island Precinct in Berkeley County, where she blasted both John McCain and George W. Bush in October 2008 in an op-ed in the Daniel Island News.

Barack Obama has detailed a tax plan that would restore some fairness to our American economic system. It would put money in the pockets of the many, and, yes, the rich would have to go back to paying what they did under President Reagan – not exactly painful.

The Obama proposal would benefit millions of South Carolinians – with a $500 per worker, or $1,000 per working family – tax credit. On top of that Obama’s plan would give a $1,000 rebate check to every family to offset the huge increase in energy costs brought to us by the two former oilmen now working in the White House. I think the people of Charleston will put that money to better use than the McCain-Bush billionaires club.

Do the math for yourself: Enough is enough. America needs a change of direction.

Yes, indeed, let's hope our readers tuned into what Gaddy is saying and do the math for themselves.

SCGOP Primary candidate list - Statewide & Congressional

The filings have closed and most races have played out as expected, but a few suprises.

Surprise candidates jumped into the races for US Senate, 2nd and 6th Districts, and Comptroller General, while General Livingston got a free ride for Adjutant General.

Here's who's running for the GOP nomination:

Debra Saunders: Another right-wing headbanger?

In a column penned by conservative columnist Debra Saunders, "Clowns to the Left, Jokers on the Right", she nails the hypocrisy about how left-wing nuts who make threats and commit acts of violence in support of their views are often given a pass by the news media, but not those espousing conservative opinions:

When activists break the law protesting Republican policies, it is because lefties care so much. But when conservatives act likewise, it's because they are loudmouths and louts.

So TV tells me.
Being an 80s heavy metal headbanger type, I recognized the the title of the article as being several lines from the Winger song "Down Incognito":

Clowns to the left
Jokers to the right
Countin on the the rest of us
To come and take a bite
But I'll wait it out
Call it superstition
I'll be fine for now
Just reminiscing

When contacted for comment, to see if there was a connection, Saunders replied:  "If I'd had the room, I would have used the entire lyrics".

Bond markets aren't fooled by Obama

Not many people noticed amid the Democrats' struggle to jam their health care bill through the House, but in recent weeks U.S. Treasury bonds have lost their status as the world's safest investment.

The numbers are pretty clear. In February, Bloomberg News reports, Berkshire Hathaway sold two-year bonds with an interest rate lower than that on two-year Treasuries. A company run by a 79-year-old investor is a better credit risk, the markets are telling us, than the U.S. government.

Buffett's firm isn't the only one. Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Lowe's have been borrowing money at cheaper rates than Uncle Sam.

Democrats wary of voting for the health care bill may have been soothed by the Congressional Budget Office's report that it would reduce federal deficits over the next 10 years. But bond buyers know that the Democrats gamed the CBO system to get a good score.

Second Republican seeks to fill Annette Young's House Seat

The surprise decision by Summerville GOP Representative Annette Young to retire took a seat that hadn't seen a seriously-contested race for twenty years and threw it wide open.

First in the race was Dorchester County Council member Larry Hargett, who had initially geared up to challenge Young. While some had expected that he would walk into the seat unopposed, it looks like he'll have company in the race for the GOP nomination - which is essentially the election for this heavily-Republican district.

Fellow County Council member Chris Murphy, an eight-year Council member, has made it known that he will be seeking the seat as well.

Harrelson a turn-out tool for Sixth District Democrats?

Political payoff discussions have surfaced regarding the potential candidacy of perennial Marion County candidate Nancy Harrelson.

Harrelson is planning a second run as a Republican candidate for the Sixth Congressional District, hoping for another run at Congressman Jim Clyburn, who beat her by a staggering two-to-one margin in 2008.

Why convicted criminals should love Ed Clements

If you've been to prison, have a criminal record, and live in either Florence or Marion County, 12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements has great news for you:

Attend his workshop in expungement and learn how to get your criminal record wiped clean, allowing you to brush your history under the rug and prey upon unsuspecting citizens.

When the Blogland received an email from a reader, announcing this event, we were surprised, to say the very least, that a Solicitor's office would be associated with this event:

The Blogland goes to Myrtle Beach this week

The Blogland is hitting the road for a few days. First stop is Myrtle Beach.

For a human resources conference.  Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

We'll have a few things we'll be dropping in on while we're up there, so watch for some reports from the field - and not just HR stuff either.

If you're a Blogland in the Grand Strand and want to meet in person, drop an email and let's see if we can make something happen.

First round of the 12th Circuit Solicitor race goes to ...

Republican candidate Mary Parham, whose turnout was considerably larger than that of the incumbent Democratic Solictor Ed Clements (both candidates held their announcements today). Parham was joined by a turnout of over 100, featuring a large cast of Pee Dee leaders, including law enforcement and public safety officers from across the two-county judicial circuit.

Clements' event, as shown below, saw far less turnout, numbering about 35.  We've been informed that there were a number of criminal defense attorneys in attendance.

You live in the Lowcountry and want to help BEAT SPRATT? On Saturday, YES, You Can!

Would you crawl on your hands and knees over broken glass to the Fifth District to beat John Spratt?

Do you live in the Lowcountry, and don't think you can help remove that rotten, no-good, tax-and-spending ... ?

Like Obama, we have HOPE - and we know it's time for a CHANGE. So if you want to do your part to help Dump Spratt from the Lowcountry, the Blogland will be joining one of South Carolina's coolest State Senators, Beaufort Republican Tom Davis, in saying "Yes, We Can!" at an oyster roast near Beaufort to benefit future Fifth District Congressman Mick Mulvaney:

Senator Tom Davis cordially invites you to an Oyster Roast
In honor of Senator Mick Mulvaney , Candidate for Congress

Saturday March 27, 2010 6:30pm
206 Marsh Point Road, Seabrook, SC
That's off US Highway 21 between Beaufort and US 17 (maps below)

Rep. Herb Kirsh to face two Republicans - and counting

Even though York County's House District 47 has overwhelming supported Republicans from top to bottom of election ballots, Democratic State Rep. Herb Kirsh has managed to avoid the GOP tide that has gradually picked off most other Democratic legislators in the Upstate since the mid-90s.

After scooping up two House seats in neighboring Cherokee County last year, Upstate Republicans are taking serious aim at Kirsh's seat.  This afternoon's announcment by former Solicitor Tommy Pope that he will file for the seat makes him the second Republican to enter the race.

Reportedly other candidates are looking at joining those two in the race for the GOP nomination for the seat.

Source have told the Blogland that Kirsh has yet to decide on seeking another term and that he may decide to retire from the House.

Reminder: Women in Politics seminar this Saturday in Georgetown

Here's a friendly reminder about this Saturday's Women in Politics Seminar, to be held in Georgetown by the folks from the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics:

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Registration 9:30 - 10 AM
Session time: 10 AM - 2 PM


Quality Inn & Suites
210 Church Street
Georgetown, SC 29440
$50 - Training School Ticket
$65 - Training School Ticket and Membership to the Institute

We Can't Drive 55

When Sammy Hagar told us he couldn't drive 55, he wasn't the only one. This story in the Wall Street Journal looked at how the long-time 55 m.p.h. speed limit is becoming something American's won't do.

A study of TomTom users in 46 states showed average freeway speeds in 31 of those states exceeded 65. This data was collected on a voluntary and anonymous basis, with drivers on D.C.'s 10 or so miles of freeway going the slowest (46.4) and those in Mississippi going the fastest (70.1).

South Carolina also made the top ten, a category in which average per-state freeway speeds ranged from 68.5 to 70.1.

We have to wonder if Rep. Anne Hutto participated in this study.

GOP taking aim at 12th Circuit Solicitor's Office

Another sign of the increasing GOP strength in the Pee Dee region was the recruitment of Assistant U.S. Attorney Rosemary Parham to challenge incumbent Democratic 12th Circuit Solictor Ed Clements. This is the latest of a ramped-up wave of GOP activity in the region which followed last year's takeover of the Florence County GOP by the Pee Dee Republicans group.

Parham stepped down from her federal job to begin her challenge of Clements in what could be a competitive race, in spite of the GOP never before fielding a candidate for the office. Shifting voting trends in the two-county circuit suggest she could have a shot at winning on the Republican ticket.

The 12th Judicial Circuit is composed of Florence and Marion Counties. Overall, upper-tier GOP statewide candidates lose Marion County by about two-to-one margins while carrying much-larger Florence County by more modest percentages. A comparsion of results from both counties in the '04 and '08 Presidential and Senatorial races, along with the '06 Gubernatorial race showed Republicans winning the circuit in 4 of 5 races, with outcomes ranging from 48.8% to 53.8% of votes cast.

Tea with the GOP in Ridgeville

Rain didn't keep Berkeley Republicans from turning out in droves for the annual membership tea party for the Berkeley County Republican Women.

Statewide candidates Henry McMaster and Mick Zais, along with SCGOP Chair Karen Floyd came down to join the full house. First District GOP candidates Tim Scott, Ken Glasson, Mark Lutz, Clark Parker, Paul Thurmond and Stovall Witte rallied the faithful, joined by lots of local candidates, campaign representatives, and dozens of local party activists.

The Blogland thanks the hardest-working politicos in Berkeley County for their hospitality in putting on a first-class event.  If you were in the Lowcountry and didn't make it, you missed a great time.

Underground Utility Safety legislation moves forward

In today's Senate hearing for Senate Bill 1068, stakeholder groups came together to present their views on the legislation, which would update the oldest laws regarding underground utilities in the nation.

While there were differing views expressed about the finer points of the legislation, all agreed the time had come to fix these laws. It was also agreed that stakeholders would collaborate on working the current bill into a final form for quick Senate action.

It was agreed between Senators and stakeholders that the final draft of S1068 (or a similar bill) will be submitted to Judiciary committee members no later than early this summer. Senate Judiciary staff was directed to assist stakeholder representatives in working out the final details.

On Thursday's Agenda: Underground Utilities Safety

Yours truly will be at the State House today for a hearing on Senate Bill 1068, the "Underground Utilities Safety and Damage Prevention Act", which is part of a long-time legislative effort I've been involved with to improve construction workplace safety.  I'll be at the Gressette Building, Room 209 at 10:00 a.m.

South Carolina is one of just six states in the country where utilities do not have to be a member of the "One Call Center", so if you call 811 before you dig, you might not be notifying every utility.

South Carolina is one of just 18 states which do not require utilities to provide what is known as "Positive Response". This practice requires that each notification must be responded to either with marks on the ground or an "all clear" notice, ending the guesswork.

There are other concerns addressed in the bill, but these are the biggest ones.

A wide range of stakeholders, both as individuals and organizations, have come together to work on the reform effort which this legislation is intended to help.

Mark your calendar: Sunday, March 21 - Berkeley GOP women annual social

If you're hanging around the Lowcountry on Sunday, March 21, here's an event you don't want to miss:

    Berkeley County Republican Women Annual Membership Tea March 21, 2010 2 pm - 5 pm All Republican Candidates Welcome The Home of David and Peggy Appler 910 Apple Core Lane Ridgeville, SC 29472 RSVP 843-688-5171

We know that SCGOP Chair Karen Floyd will be there, as well Attorney General Henry McMaster, as well as several other statewide and Congressional candidates (and the Blogland will be there as well).

You don't want to miss this event!

David Farrow to seek re-election to 45th Congressional District

A guy like this is worth voting for:


Garry Smith rallies House fiscal conservatives in budget votes

Simpsonville State Representative Garry Smith (pictured with way cool Spartaburg GOP Chair LaDonna Ryggs) has been making waves during this week's budget debate, challenging House members to set priorities and make tough decisions in what is proving to be another tough budget year. According to the Post and Courier:

State Rep. Garry Smith, offered a series of amendments to shut down agencies. But Haley had left early. Her campaign spokesman said she was at political events in Greenville and Spartanburg.

Smith's amendments to shut down the State Museum, Arts Commission, Minority Affairs Commission, Human Affairs Commission and Sea Grant Consortium would have generated about $8 million that Smith said would better be used in public schools. "It's time that we set some priorities," said Smith, a Simpsonville Republican.

Happy Birthday Tommy Grimes

The Blogland wishes a Happy Twenty-First Birthday to Sixth District Congressional District GOP Chairman Tommy Grimes.

If you know him - and even if you don't - take a few minutes to wish him a Happy Birthday today.

Grits, Eggs and Politics ... and Oysters too!

Saturday was a busy day on the road in the Blogland.

The morning started out in Summerville, with the Lowcountry GOP breakfast club's monthly meeting featuring a forum of the Superintendent of Education candidates. All five spoke to a packed house.

Next stop: Beaufort. The Beaufort Area Republican Club's oyster roast filled the park, with a long roster of state and local candidates speaking.

Representative Shannon Erickson's praise for fellow Beaufort delegation members Senator Tom Davis and Rep. Bill Herbkersman as "a great team that does great things working together" was a sign of how much Beaufort politics had changed since the 2008 elections.

It was interesting to see some of the Education candidates at both events, which serves a good example of how much work running for statewide office can be. Running for statewide office isn't for someone who hates travel or likes being home for dinner every day.

In March, it's hard to beat spending one's weekend running the Lowcountry for good fine, fine folks, and a darn great time. If you spent today home vegging out, you missed a great time!

Upstate Republicans recruiting former Solicitor to challenge Rep. Kirsh?

In the last year, the GOP knocked out many of the last Democrats standing in the Upstate arc between Spartanburg and York Counties: special election wins for House 30 and a Cherokee County Council seat, followed by the defection of Rep. Dennis Moss and another Cherokee County Council member.

The last Democrat standing: Clover Representative Herb Kirsh.

Kirsh's survival in York County's GOP-leaning House District 47 has often been attributed to his willingness to work with Republicans, but with the GOP quickly mopping up the remaining Democrats in this region's swing districts, it seemed a matter of time before Kirsh would face a serious challenge.

The Blogland has talked with several Upstate politicos who have indicated serious efforts are underway to recruit former 16th Circuit Solicitor Tommy Pope to challenge Kirsh, who has avoided a serious challenge since the mid-1990s.

Lowcountry GOP regional campaign HQ to open Monday

Later this fall, you can bet you'll see scenes like this with happy Republican volunteers at the Lowcountry Republican Party joint campaign headquarters, which opens Monday next week.

7671 Northwoods Boulevard, Suite G  North Charleston 
Right next door to the Ice Palace and down the street from Northwoods Mall.

The grand opening will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday!

To help achieve real change in 2010, they're looking for donations of furniture to include folding tables, desks chairs, office supplies, computers and just about anything that goes in an office. Cash donations to help with utilities, phone and computer service will be gladly accepted.

Volunteers will be needed to help staff the office – both during the filing period to assist candidates, as well as after the filing period to assist interested voters with information, handing out yard signs and assisting candidates.

To help, or drop by to get more information about the Lowcountry Republican candidates, please contact Lin Bennett at 843-571-6330 or email her at

Mark your calendar: Sunday, March 21 - Berkeley GOP women annual social

If you're hanging around the Lowcountry on Sunday, March 21, here's an event you don't want to miss:

    Berkeley County Republican Women Annual Membership Tea March 21, 2010 2 pm - 5 pm All Republican Candidates Welcome The Home of David and Peggy Appler 910 Apple Core Lane Ridgeville, SC 29472 RSVP 843-688-5171

We know that SCGOP Chair Karen Floyd will be there, as well Attorney General Henry McMaster, as well as several other statewide and Congressional candidates (and the Blogland will be there as well).

You don't want to miss this event!

Mark your calendar: Women in Politics seminar in Georgetown, Sat. March 27

Gender diversity in South Carolina politics is sorely lacking (a subject we'll be talking about soon). Upstate Republican Deb Sofield is one of those who understand that this is an area which needs to be addressed. Active in the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics, she's heading up a class on Saturday, March 27 in Georgetown aimed at helping women become more active in politics, either as candidates or campaigners.

The last meeting, which was held in Santee on February 20, was well attended, including a number of women holding elected and party offices - from both parties - from the Midlands, Lowcountry and Pee Dee, who offered advice and encouragement for attendees.  We've been told that a similar mix of newcomers and veterans will be at this event as well, so you really don't want to miss it!

Rite-Aid & your tax dollars at work: Buy candy with food stamps

Today's example of your tax dollars at work comes to you from the Rite-Aid Pharmacy store at the intersection of Savage and Ashley River Roads in Charleston, where shoppers are informed via advertising display signs that they can use their food stamps/EBT cards to purchase candy.

This wouldn't have surprised us if we'd seen it in a no-name corner store, but to see a major chain retailer encouraging such use of taxpayer-funded food assistance resources just doesn't seem right.

Here's the full-size shot of the candy display:

Managing viral PR damage: Domino's Pizza You Tube incident

Last year, two former employees of a Domino's Pizza location in North Carolina, Michael Setzer and Kristi Hammonds, decided to have a little fun with the food, posting a video of them tampering with the food on YouTube. The original incident was discussed here in the Blogland.

The video hit the web quickly, and the s*** hit the fan just about as fast when viewers found it and began forwarding it around the web.

This ABC News story looks at how this PR disaster played out, including how web viewers played a key role in helping alert Dominos to the existence of the video, and how the pizza chain handled the mess:

Domino's was the latest company to be on the wrong end of a "Twitter storm," a spontaneously formed digital mob that rapidly shares information. The company's swift response to the employees and its wider customer base, using the same Web sites and media that spread the video, has been praised by observers who nevertheless wonder if the company can emerge unscathed.

All FIVE GOP Superintendent of Education candidates to visit Lowcountry Saturday



WHEN: Saturday, March 13 at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Kelly’s BBQ restaurant, US 78, Summervile
CONTACT: Ron Turner, Chairman (843) 814-1805

This Saturday, Lowcountry Republicans will gather at Kelly’s BBQ in Summerville at 9 a.m. to participate in a forum of the announced Republican candidates for the 2010 election for State Superintendent of Education:

• Gary Burgress
• Elizabeth Moffly
• Brent Neilsen
• Kelly Payne
• Mick Zais

After the panel speakers have made their presentations, a moderated Question and Answer session will allow those in the audience to present questions to the speakers.

For the last seven years, this organization has featured monthly meetings which have featured candidates, policy experts and grass-roots Republican party activists who have promoted candidacies and discussed current issues. Combined with “open mike” question-and-answer sessions, the general public has been able to learn about important issues and express their concerns on these issues, as well as grill candidates for public office.

Past speakers have included each of the current GOP statewide office holders, including Governor Sanford, Congressman Henry Brown, Senator Jim DeMint, as well as many regional legislators and representatives from grassroots and policy advocacy organizations such as Gun Owners of America, Fair Tax, and the South Carolina Policy Council.

Breakfast is served for $6.50 per attendee, and the general public is cordially invited to attend, regardless of political affiliation.

Democrats writing off AG race?

In years past, Democrats have showed little serious interest in contesting the Attorney General office. In each of the last four election cycles, they've fielded a single candidate, and each time, including two open races, their candidates failed to come even close.

The last two times the AG's office was open, 1994 and 2002, the GOP fielded veteran prosecutors: former Ninth Circuit Solicitor Charlie Condon and former U.S. Attorney Henry McMaster.  Democrats haven't run an AG candidate with high-level prosecution experience since 1994, when their canididate was Dick Harpootlian, a former Solicitor.

Hoping to reverse that trend, some Democrats looked to the candidacy of First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe. His record as a veteran prosecutor, combined with his ability to earn some crossover GOP support, made him an atttractive candidate for Democrats.

Then two weeks before filing, Pascoe quit the race, leaving Democrats empty-handed.

What's your favorite road?

The folks with Asphalt Magazine have put together a website for readers to submit descriptions and photos of some of their favorite roads. The site's been up since last fall and lots of people have submitted their write-ups and photos.

You can submit roads or browse roads to see what others have sent in, as well as rating roads which have been submitted and see which ones readers liked best.

Organized labor frustrated with Obama administration?

A couple of weeks ago, the Blogland looked at the difficulties faced by labor unions in getting their agenda enacted by the Obama administration.  We aren't surprised they're not happy with this lack of return on their investment in the current political majority.  Sam Hananel reports on the state of discontent among organized labor leaders in the current lack of progress:

Prospects for a health overhaul have faded. Even slimmer are the chances of achieving labor's chief goal, passage of a bill making it easier for unions to organize workers. A bipartisan jobs bill passed this week by the Senate drew tepid praise from the AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, who called it a "Band-Aid on an amputated limb" — far short of what unions wanted.

This wasn't what unions expected a year ago after spending more than $400 million to help elect Obama and increase the size of Democratic majorities in the Senate and House.

Leaders of labor's largest federation will try to figure out how to refocus their political agenda when they begin their annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Monday.

Rep. Clemmons blamed for hard rock outbreak at State House

The Blogland has learned that Myrtle Beach Representative Alan Clemmons has been blamed for an outbreak of heavy metal among members of the State House.  Reportedly Clemmons' conversion took place while he was convalescing following a recent horse riding incident where his hand was injured.

I don't know what came over me. I raised my hand in the air, center two fingers curled up. Then all I could hear was Bruce Dickinson singing the lyrics to Iron Maiden's "The Trooper".

Shortly thereafter, balloons began sprouting in his yard in the image of the famous "devil horns" sign well-know in the heavy metal scene.  This sign has been used by heavy metal fans around the world, and is most commonly associated with Ronnie James Dio.  While Dio did not invent the sign, his use of the sign during his time with Black Sabbath gave the sign's usage tremendous popularity among heavy metal fans.

Parole Action Alert: Keep Brian Nelson behind bars

The Blogland is asking for your help in keeping a double cop-killer behind bars.

On November 19, 2002, Patrolman William Bell of the Summerville Police Department and Deputy Gene Wright of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office stopped to assist a stranded motorist on U.S. 17A, in Summerville, South Carolina.

While changing the motorists tire, both were struck and killed by a passing vehicle.

The driver, Brian Nelson, was not supposed to be driving, as he had a medical condition which prohibited him from legally operating a vehicle. Nelson tried to flee the scene and had to be detained at the scene by good citizens who came upon the scene.

Florence Republicans circle wagons behind Reps Crawford and Lowe

In recent weeks, there has been speculation about nasty primary battles brewing for Florence State Reps Kris Crawford and Phillip Lowe. Fingers pointed to Florence County Senator Hugh Leatherman and his supporters as seeking to recruit and fund challenges against both Representatives.

Late last week, Senator Leatherman appeared at the Florence Rotary's oyster roast fundraiser, where he dashed those rumors, expressing his support for both Crawford and Lowe.

Other local GOP leaders have been quick to rally to the defense of both legislators, and some have contacted the Blogland to discuss these rumors. One party activist labeled such rumors as "too much Columbia spinning by people who'd like to see these guys going at each other's throats".

Charter School funding restored in House committee vote

The Blogland, in spite of opposing the political thuggery associated by some school choice backers, is very much in favor of any means by which parents can be provided more education choices for their children.

While vouchers may be some time off from becoming policy, more immediate measures such as charter and virtual charter schools are available now, but under considerable fire by choice opponents.

Even though I have questions about online education, especially at the college level, I've also taken online-based courses during my undergraduate days and taught for a distance education course offered by George Washington University. It's an option worth exploring and developing in the school choice debate.

The High Cost of Early Prisoner Releases

One of the biggest inequities in South Carolina is in how the state deals with its budget priorities in bad times.  Public education funding is largely spared from budget cuts while other agencies take the brunt of cuts.

Apparently other parts of state government like law enforcement, prisons, courts, environmental protection, agricultural inspection, and others aren't thought to be essential to the well-being of the people of this state.

Nettie Britts is one of the fine Blogland readers who knows better and she's speaking out on her blog, challenging state leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, to put public safety first by making real budget cuts instead of releasing prisoners early: