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.

Of these five, only John McCain lost the circuit, and by less than two thousand votes. Given the current voter trends, it would seem likely a major-level GOP candidate could expect to win the collective count from both counties. With the right message, Parham run a very serious candidacy.

Several Solicitor's offices fell to Republicans when rural voters in those areas began shifting into the GOP column beginning in the 1990s. A similar effect has been taking place in this region, most notably marked by the first GOP Sheriff in Florence County and Rep. Phillip Lowe's two knockout victories in a rural district considered to have a Democratic lean. If Parham can capitalize on these shifting trends, she could oust one of the state's few remaining Democratic Solicitors.

Democrats hold just six of the sixteen Solicitor's offices, which presents problems for a Democratic comeback on the statewide level. In a state which hasn't elected an Attorney General without prosecution experience since the first half of the 20th Century, this shrinking pool of candidates means the GOP is increasingly likely to have a lock on the AG's office. Losing Clements would only make things worse for Democrats. 

There's a lot at stake for the Pee Dee Republican team as well.  They swamped the Florence GOP convention last year, but have yet to show they can win elections.  Parham's candidacy is one of their first chances to play in the political big leagues and prove they're more than simply a club of political enthusiasts.  Big stakes in the battle for influence in a region which is expected to have its own Congressional district in two years' time. 

There's a lot at stake all around, so count on both sides to make this race a top regional priority

10 Response to "GOP taking aim at 12th Circuit Solicitor's Office"

  1. Stephanie 21/3/10 13:14
    Well written Earl....Rose Mary Parham is a top notch Republican candidate. She is going to make us proud in Florence and Marion County!

    Stephanie Rawlinson
  2. Anonymous 21/3/10 15:26
    I really like the fact that it is said that Parham is trying to capitalize on the GOP shift in activity not that this person is the right person for the job. Mr. Clements actually does an outstanding job regardless of political affiliation. I found that the solicitor's office has the least amount of use in party declarations. Mr. Clements lets justice decide what needs to be done not other governmental offices (law enforcement agencies)dictating who and what cases to prosecute. I hope for the sake of Florence and Marion County citizens remember that we want the right person for the job, not the right affliation. That is the SMART thing. As far as I have been able to see Mr. Clement's job performance is exemplary and unquestionable. I do not see that Ms. Parham can even compare. She is not the right person for the job simply because the right one is in office already. Also, the big question is Ms. Parham's legal performances "unquestionable"? Hmmmmm????
  3. Deany 21/3/10 16:32
    Unquestionable wrote that the right man was in office. I beg to differ. Clements picks and chooses his battles to suit his political interests. While furthering his political aspirations there are far more people who work behind the scenes. Employees are under the supervision of Clements choice and approval. Creating havoc and turmoil in the workplace. Excuse me, but a Solicitors only job is not just in the courtroom. Many people work to make this office run effectively and many without as much as a Thank You! The true measure of a man is how he treats his inferiors not his equals. Voters are not inferior and Ms. Parham will prevail and send a message that truth, fairness and justice will prevail.
  4. mg 21/3/10 18:56
    This would be a treat for the guys up there if she does win. I certainly would be if she was in my District. Well done Earl.
  5. Anonymous 22/3/10 02:07
    Let me see what the facts are...

    1) prosecutor for 16-years.
    2) federal prosecutor for 11-years.
    3) More than a 98% conviction rate.
    4) led the U. S Attorney’s office statewide in the number of cases prosecuted.
    5) Prosecuted brutal murderers, hundreds of drug dealers, and put entire street gangs behind bars.
    6)Won cases like the Johnsonville Hanna murder trial, the Kenneth Hinson bunker rapist case, and recently put the double murderer Tim Poole behind bars.

    7)Lsst week brought up the Florence City Cop killer on Federal gun charges after he was released on bail.

    Those are 7 very strong points in Rosemary Parham's favor. She sounds like a tough winning prosecutor to me. 7 points any good solid winning REPUBLICAN Solicitor candidate should be able to put behind their name.
  6. Anonymous 22/3/10 15:07
    Earl--if one wants to truly judge the effectiveness of Ed's and Rose Mary's prosecutorial skill and ability one can start with the Hanna trials. Ed lost his trial, yet Rose Mary, using the same evidence was able obtain a conviction. In regards to Hinson and Poole, she won convictions that other Democrat Solicitor's also lost, using the same evidence. The citizens of this district want prosecutors we can trust to try criminals and win! Rose Mary has clearly shown, she knows how to and can win the hard cases!...teg
  7. Anonymous 25/3/10 18:42
    I am so glad Rosemary Parham is running for this office. I hve tried on many occassions to contact Ed Clemments about something very important to Florence and surrounding areas. He has not given me the chance to even here what I have to say. It is a change greatly needed and there are grants to back it up. I see that Mrs. Parham is someone who reads the bible and places great importance on it and this is great as I feel she will have the right attitude about the people here. I will be campaigning for her and telling everyone to vote for her as we need change desparately
  8. pluvlaw 28/3/10 20:41
    Hinson was tried by your Republican AG, Teg. And if you think trying someone for murder is the same as trying them for possession of firearm or mail fraud, well...that would just be foolish.
  9. Stephanie 31/3/10 03:46
    I think there is only ONE comment here that seems appropriate... 98% CONVICTION RATE!!!
  10. Betsy 11/4/10 13:52
    I have known Ed Clements for quite a while. I first met him as he coached my son's baseball team many years ago. I also know people who work in his office. The one thing I can say about his is that he is consistent. He wasn't a great coach and his office has a multitude of cases that he will not take to court. I think that it is time we had a solicitor that is willing and able to get the job done and in the end save taxpayers money. Mrs. Parham has a 98% conviction rate, and has stated that she plans on getting tough on violent crimes and taking our streets back. Haven't heard anything like that from Mr. Clements. I don't care if you are a republican or a democrat, lets get someone in the office who knows how to take charge and get the job done right the first time, not many months or years down the road.

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