Friday the 13th: Bad day for South Carolina Democrats?

Any way you look at it, Friday the 13th was not a good day for South Carolina Democrats, with bad news dropping in several key races:

Alvin Green gets indicted: While some may say Greene didn't offer to do anything other elected Senators don't offer their interns, he should have waited until getting elected. Nobody was really surprised by this news, but being under indictment is not grounds for him to be removed from the ballot, so the Democrats remain stuck with this albatross around their neck, probably until he loses in November.

Double Trouble in House Races ... news in two Democratic-held GOP-leaning districts broke Friday as well:

Anton Gunn hands House 79 back to GOP: Gunn's sudden announcement that he was leaving this Midlands House seat to accept a federal job offer caught everyone by surprise. While GOP nominee Sheri Few, who lost two successive primary bids for this seat in 2006 and 2008, wasn't given good odds by many to win against Gunn, she now becomes the prohibitive favorite as the Democrats scramble to replace Gunn. Unless the Dems find a stellar candidate and get that candidate up to speed quickly, a seat many Dems took for granted may well end up back in GOP hands.

Platt enters House 115 race as petition candidate: Two years ago, Anne Peterson Hutto won this Charleston County House seat by about 200 votes (about 1 percentage point) thanks in part to a strong surge in Democratic turnout and an incumbent worn down by two years of bad press. Long-time James Island politico Eugene Platt was confirmed a slot as a petition candidate for the seat in November, running alongside Hutto and GOP nominee Peter McCoy.

While Hutto supporters like to dismiss Platt as a perennial canidate, he's a strong contender in James Island politics. In 2006, he almost took the House 115 seat for the Democrats and two years later won a fifth consecutive four-year term on local Public Service District board, finishing first place in a field of eight candidates with nearly 3,000 votes. That's ten times the margin of victory in the last two races for this seat. Based on his long-time involvement in local Democratic and Green Party circles, we tend to think he'll draw far more votes from Hutto than McCoy - perhaps enough to assure McCoy wins in November.

3 Response to "Friday the 13th: Bad day for South Carolina Democrats?"

  1. Eugene Platt 15/8/10 17:33
    Sunday Afternoon

    Earl, it is obvious you do not think I will win the House District 115 election. And, especially as a veteran (U.S. Army, 1957-1960, 11th Airborne and 24th Infantry Divisions), I support your right to voice your opinions even when they are contrary to basic logic---as may be the case here. (Incidentally, of the three candidates in a State House District that holds military service in high regard, I am the only veteran.) Nevertheless, I am probably not the only regular reader of the Blogland who would be interested to hear your prediction (inasmuch as you do not think I will win) about the outcome. Are you predicting this order: Hutto, McCoy, Platt? Or this order: McCoy, Hutto, Platt?

    Eugene Platt
  2. Earl Capps 15/8/10 18:21
    Gene, winning elections comes down to a couple of things: resources with which to wage a campaign and voting behaviors.

    The other two candidates have raised a considerable amount of money, and the majority of voters tend to vote for a candidate from one of the two major political parties. Most voters who portray themselves as "independent" really aren't - they don't make individual, informed decisions for each office. They have a default tendency and then vote for one to four candidates who stand out as unique.

    As it stands, only one petition candidate has won an open legislative seat in recent memory that I'm aware of: Bubba Cromer, who won a swing seat in Richland County in the 1980s. There are three other legislators who won re-election as petition candidates, but had won initial elections under a partisan affiliation.

    I'm not knocking you personally, nor your record of service, nor would I suggest those who are (and you know there are) to take you lightly or to continue taking shots at your committment to the islands or your personal character.

    Personally, I'd hope for you to come in second, and certainly ahead of Hutto, but you have to get the resources to project your message and persuade voters to support you on a partisan ballot.

    History argues that your chances of winning aren't good, and I personally would argue but as one learns over the years, there's always the exceptions. My advice is go prove yourself the exception.
  3. west_rhino 16/8/10 10:33
    Gene, I'd note that the Post & Courier appears to favor either order you've posted. My own read is that it will be McCoy, Platt, Hutto, particurlarly after the shenannigans to keep you off the ballot.

    SC voters aren't stupid and some of us remember the finachettoing of Pug Ravenel from the gubernatorial race in 74 and Mr. Dorn's reward for supplanting that candidacy.

    If any advice, I'd say emulate Paul's "With my eyes on the goal, I am running the race."

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