Recently, the Blogland reported that Greenville County Senator David Thomas faced a potential tough primary battle for reelection. Now two more Senators in the Upstate will face what are expected to be strong primary challenges from former state Representatives who are seeking to make political comebacks.
- Pickens County Senator Larry Martin will face Rex Rice, who gave up his Greenville-Pickens House Seat (which was moved to York County in the recent redistricting) two years ago to run for the Third Congressional District seat. Martin, who has held the seat since 1992 after serving in the House for several terms, has gone without serious opposition during his twenty-year Senate tenure, while Rice spent sixteen years in the House representing part of Martin’s Senate district.
- Spartanburg County Senator Lee Bright will reportedly face a rematch with John Hawkins, who narrowly defeated Bright in a contest for the seat in 2004. Bright, who won the seat four years later when Hawkins decided not to seek another term, has clashed with fellow Republicans on the county’s legislative delegation and was associated with a failed 2010 petition candidate against Rep. Rita Allison.
While Hawkins may, having defeated Bright in the past, be able to wage a strong candidacy for the Spartanburg County Senate seat, we think Rice will face an uphill battle as House members – current and former – seeking to move up to the Senate, rarely prevail, especially when challenging incumbent Senators. Many current Senators who toppled incumbents to win their seats, including Tom Davis, Greg Gregory, Larry Grooms, Mike Rose and Danny Verdin, were non-legislators when they first won their Senate seats.
Will these challenges prove the rule or the exception? Stay tuned.