Mark your calendar: Spartanburg Bronze Elephant, Monday 10/8

When it comes to a party, LaDonna Ryggs and the Spartanburg GOP are known for pulling out all the stops. This year's annual Bronze Elephant Dinner, being held Monday next week (October 8), looks like an event you don't want to miss.

Monday's Bronze Elephant dinner features Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and South Carolina's Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney.

Tickets include an annual membership in the county party's Bronze Elephant Club:

  • $120 per family
  • $90 per couple
  • $60 per single
  • or $500 per table sponsorship (name in the program, table of 8 and reception/photo line)

RSVP to ladonna@thepalladiangroup.comMake checks payable and send them to: Spartanburg County GOP PO Box 5475 Spartanburg, SC 29304.

Certificate of need process: Rationing health care in South Carolina

In most businesses, issues such as location, capacity and services offered are dictated by the marketplace. Businesses respond to demand by opening, expanding, moving or closing locations, as well as the mix of services and products offered by those facilities. 

By and large, this unregulated process works pretty well - but if you're a hospital in South Carolina, bureaucrats, not patients, make the decision about the availability of health care services through the state's "Certificate of Need" process. This system is used to restrict and control the ability of medical service providers to build and operate facilities throughout the state.

From where the Blogland sees it, that system may be good if you're a bureaucrat seeking job security or a hospital looking to block out potential competition, but for patients who want more options for healthcare in your community, it's a bad thing.

The latest example of how this program is used to stifle competition can be found in Berkeley County, where S.C. DHEC issued these figurative permission slips to allow two competing health care providers to build hospitals: Trident Healthcare and Roper St. Francis Healthcare.

Walton cartoon: "Obama roulette"

Social Media increasingly being used as evidence

As if we haven't seen enough written about the need to exercise caution about what is being said in social media, another word of warning comes from Allen Smith, who recently interviewed David Osterman, a New Jersey attorney specializing in labor and human resources issues for a recent story in the Society for Human Resource Management website

While this news that social media is impacting what takes place in courtrooms probably isn't surprising to many, the details of the story bear attention in the article, Smith warns readers that:

"Social media has filtered into courtrooms, transforming jury selection; questioning of witnesses; interactions between jurors, lawyers and judges; and evidence. And employment litigation has been affected ..."

In the story, Osterman details how social media is being used to do advance research for jurors and witnesses, as well as how social media commentary is qualified as evidence in the courtroom. For those who want to protect their company from legal exposure or prepare a strong defense for cases that may go to trial, this story makes for good reading.

Romney energy policies "merit a closer look".

Recently, we saw an editorial in Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine, a magazine aimed at upper-level utility management (which we happen to get as well). In an op-ed in the latest issue, Editor Michael Burr lays out a strong argument for why Romney's energy policies offer paths forward for greater energy development, as well as opening doors for innovation that will broaden our available energy options:

Just as we were going to press, the Romney-Ryan campaign released an energy plan that sets forth what purports to be a bold policy goal: to achieve North American energy independence in just eight years. That goal is interesting in its own right. But it’s even more interesting against the current backdrop of economic and policy trends affecting energy and utility companies. And make no mistake, energy policy issues are heating up again ... The November elections are set for just two months after this issue of Fortnightly hits readers’ mailboxes. Given the major energy policy issues now in play, Romney’s stated positions merit a closer look.

As South Carolina's utilities struggle with federal mandates that are forcing the closure of a number of coal plants, this agenda could help boost their ability to generate power, helping augment the supply of energy which, in better days, was a major boost to economic development recruitment efforts.

When the Blogland endorsed Romney in the primary cycle, we wrote "Mitt Romney has shown the depth of knowledge needed to make sound policy decisions, a willingness to apply logic instead of shallow rhetoric to solve problems". Seeing these kinds of assessments confirm that we made the right decision then and spell out why we stand by that endorsement going into November.

More signs of ramped-up OSHA enforcement and penalties

It seems that some of these efforts have drawn some controversy, most notably the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which kicked off two years ago, replacing the agency's Enhanced Enforcement Program with the aim of focusing enforcement efforts upon:

(H)igh-emphasis hazards, which are defined as high gravity serious violations of specific fall standards -- 23 such standards are listed in general industry, construction, shipyards, marine terminal, and longshoring -- or standards covered in National Emphasis Programs focused on amputations, combustible dusts, crystalline silica, lead, excavation/trenching, shipbreaking, and process safety management.

Mark your calendar - 5th District GOP Clay shoot and dinner candidates' benefit

This Saturday, Fifth Congressional District Republicans will be holding a clay shoot and dinner benefit for Fifth District Republican legislative candidates who are challenging Democrats, featuring Congressman Mick Mulvaney.

The benefit will be held at Rocky Creek Sporting Clays 3339 Mountain Gap Road, Richburg with a Beginners' Clinic and noon and a Shotgun start 3:00 p.m.

There will be a Beginners Clinic starting at noon with a National Sporting Clays Certified Instructor for those not shooting the course. Limited spots available (10) for this clinic, so be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot. 

You can bring your shotguns and ammo but there are a limited number of guns available to rent at Rocky Creek. Call to reserve. 

There will also be door prizes provided by event sponsors.

The problem of dependency: Maybe Romney was right

Mitt Romney's recent remarks about the growth of dependency set off a short-lived media storm, but in most polls, Romney's support barely moved and a week later, most polls showed little real change from the week of the DNC in Charlotte.

Perhaps it's because that many actually agreed with his basic premise that too many people are indeed dependent upon government assistance?

That seems to be what the findings of a poll released by Rasmussen Polling would suggest:

Americans strongly believe that there is too much government dependency in the country today. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64% of Adults think there are too many Americans dependent on the government for financial aid. Just 10% think not enough Americans are dependent on the government, while 16% say the level of dependency is about right.

These concerns by Romney and poll respondents are being voiced during a time of unprecedented growth of social programs and their cost to taxpayers, as well as a continued inability of the federal government to rein in spending and balance its budget.

Walton cartoon: "Obama Home Brew"

Free Pussy Riot

Guest op-ed: Senate 41 GOP run-off helping Democrats

This guest op-ed was submitted by Lisa Pereira, a Blogland reader who lives in Goose Creek. A former journalist and paramedic who ran for State House Seat 102, she is currently active in Lowcountry GOP circles. You can air your views by emailing your op-ed to

I am somewhat annoyed at the upcoming runoff between Paul Thurmond and Walter Hundley. Due to shenanigans on the part of the Democratic Party to control who they run against this November, we had a compressed primary cycle. With three candidates running, there was bound to be a runoff but no one in the party can really tell one person to drop out even if you can look at the numbers beforehand and know who is coming in third.

Now we have a runoff that will occur about a month before the general election. Again no one in party leadership can tell one of the candidates to drop out for the good of the party. I understand why party leadership can't interject into a primary between two republican candidates. However it is almost an ethical obligation on the part of each candidates consultants and/or managers to lay the numbers and facts out before their client. Few do.

Big turnout at Ralph Kennedy fundraiser

It was a full house at the Sheraton in Downtown Columbia for a fundraising reception for Ralph Kennedy, the GOP nominee for House District 39. Headlining the event was House Speaker Bobby Harrell, who talked about the need to elect Kennedy, an attorney and former prosecutor, to help keep the Republican legislative majority focused on law-and-order issues.

Kennedy faces a petition opponent in November after scoring a big win in the June primary.

Thanks go out to Harrell and Kennedy for hosting a good event and their usual hospitality to the Blogland.

Bill Connor: "Israel needs America's support - not four more years of Obama"

This guest editorial was penned by Bill Connor, the current Chair of the Sixth Congressional District GOP, an Orangeburg attorney and security advisor as well as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. Guest op-eds are published verbatim by emailing them to

Americans were privy to the inner “heart” of the Democratic Party in Charlotte and it wasn’t pretty.

Unlike previous convention platforms, this years’ initial Democratic platform deleted any reference to God or Jerusalem (as the capital of Israel). Due to overwhelming criticism by mainstream America, the convention chairman attempted to re-insert the necessary language. The resulting vote was a fiasco. By a voice vote heard by millions, the delegates of the Democratic Convention voted against God and against Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Most know of the secular-progressive shift of the Democratic Party over recent years, so the vote against God was predictable. However, the Jerusalem vote combines with the anti-Israel shift of the Obama Administration, including the recent snub of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and becomes alarming.

Tell Tim Scott to go ...

... have a Happy Birthday today.

Filing disqualifications suckering SC Republicans?

Earlier in the year, a number of GOP activists and operatives expressed hope that once the June primaries were over, hundreds of GOP volunteers would be freed to head north to augment GOP volunteers in North Carolina to counter Obama and DNC-orchestrated efforts in the Tar Hell State. Instead, many Republicans who might otherwise be in North Carolina are still in South Carolina, diverted by the ongoing GOP infighting which has been fueled by this spring's ballot disqualifications. 

In breaking the numbers down, it becomes obvious the GOP is hurt far more than Democrats by the wave of petition candidacies which followed the spring ballot disqualifications.

Of the twenty-one legislative races which are contested this fall with both petition and major party candidates, fourteen are in districts which are either held by Republicans or trend Republican while only seven of them are in Democratic districts, while only seven were in Democratic districts. Not only that, but few of these candidates will be able to wage viable campaigns this fall.

Secretary of State online services wins national award

When you meet Secretary of State Mark Hammond, you wouldn't think tech geek, but his office's efforts to make information more accessible online are receiving plenty of recognition these days.

The South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office’s UCC Online program was honored with a Government-to-Business Digital Government Achievement Award on September 13, 2012 from the national Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

Hammond said the website "sends a clear message that we are business-friendly.  I thank everyone who worked to make this electronic filing and retrieval system a reality.”

Talbert Black's One-Man Agenda

We've heard much about Talbert Black, a libertarian who claims to be part of a group which is trying to influence the Republican Party to adopt his agenda.

When we say "his agenda", we found the puzzling use of first-person language in explaining the legislative scorecards put out by his supposed "group" known as the Palmetto Liberty PAC. The use of such language suggests that the vetting of these votes was done by Black himself, instead of a larger group, raising the question of whose agenda Black wants people to follow?

Immigration enforcement focusing on employers

Federal immigration officials in Kansas are applying severe measures to punish those who employ undocumented workers:

After an Overland Park couple were indicted, accused of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and paying them less than other employees, federal authorities said Tuesday that they would seek to seize the couple’s two hotels.

This followed a raid earlier this year which found that roughly half the employees at the two hotels were undocumented workers. The feds allege the couple paid the workers with cash and paid them less than the minimum wage, including to an undercover agent who told the couple he was an illegal alien.

According to Kansas U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, the agency would continue to go after employers for illegal hires, warning "We are going to enforce immigration laws, and we are going to enforce them equally ... we’re not going to enforce them merely on the backs of (undocumented workers).

This is part of a new approach to dealing with the illegal immigration issue by going after employers. Two years ago, the New York Times reported on the agency's new focus:

Charleston Thug Life has a posse?

The Blogland is a big fan of Charleston Thug Life - a website that has exposed the social media lives of hoodlums in the South Carolina Lowcountry, as well as those using illegal smartphones to communicate from prison. We've always enjoyed reading the website and occasionally linking to some of their research.

Their efforts have generated a lot of publicity. Dot Scott, the head of the Charleston NAACP (whose boycott of South Carolina doesn't seem to be working), accused the website of "concentrating just on these black guys" - but we're not buying it. Nor do we buy the charge by Chris Haire of the liberal Charleston City Paper that the website engages in "in-your-face race baiting" that is "is festering sore of libel and making an ass-out-of-you-and-me assumptions."

When one posts records from court websites showing arrests and convictions, it's not assumptions and it's not libel. 

One City Paper reader responded to Haire, defining the website as "like, but with guns...and in front of the bathroom mirror instead of in the checkout lane." That description fits rather well.

However, it seems others are taking the website more seriously. According to the Holy City Sinner website:

Mark your calendar - 5th District GOP Clay shoot and dinner candidates' benefit

Fifth Congressional District Republicans will be holding a clay shoot and dinner benefit for Fifth District Republican legislative candidates who are challenging Democrats, featuring Congressman Mick Mulvaney.

The benefit will be held at Rocky Creek Sporting Clays 3339 Mountain Gap Road, Richburg on September 29, 2012 with a Shotgun start 3:00PM

There will be a Beginners Clinic starting at noon with a National Sporting Clays Certified Instructor for those not shooting the course. Limited spots available (10) for this clinic, so be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot. 

You can bring your shotguns and ammo but there are a limited number of guns available to rent at Rocky Creek. Call to reserve. 

There will also be door prizes provided by event sponsors.

It looks like Hell: the end of Southern Democrats?

While the national picture paints a picture of a close contest for power in Washington in both the Presidential and Senate races (few observers expect the GOP to lose the House), the Republican dominance of the South is expected to continue - and with that, prospects for the survival of the few remaining Southern Democrats in Congress are looking bleak.

Two years ago, the depth of the GOP's sweep of the South was amazing. Out of dozens of Senate and statewide office contests across the South, Democrats prevailed in just one: the Arkansas Governor's race. Not only that, Republicans now control of all but two legislative chambers in the South (the House and Senate in Arkansas, where a switch of just eight seats would put those in their hands as well), a big change in a region where Republicans took control of their first legislative chamber in the 1994 elections.

Now the Washington Post predicts this year will see the virtual end of the white Southern Democratic members of Congress. There's a lot of reasons to suggest they may be right.

Big crowd in Rock Hill for Senator Hayes' kick-off

Those hoping to catch York County Senator Wes Hayes off guard or to overwhelm him in November probably wouldn't have found tonight's campaign kick-off by the Senator very encouraging. Over 150 locals turned out for the campaign kickoff for York County Senator Wes Hayes (as well as the Blogland), including the county's well-known conservative State Reps: Ralph Norman and Gary Simrill.
Also in attendance were Solicitor Kevin Brackett, Glenn McCall, the state's RNC Committeeman and York County GOP Chair, Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler and York County Council Chair Britt Blackwell.

Simrill opened the event, praising Hayes for his "teamwork" with the county's House members and work ethic in the Senate, while Norman praised Hayes' record of service, both in the Legislature and in the National Guard, calling Hayes "a man of his word". Both declared their support for Hayes' re-election, along with McCall.

With such broad support and the county's most notable conservative legislators rallying behind him, tonight's event showed Hayes' base of support was as strong as it has been in years past and was ready for the fall campaign. It's certainly not a good sign for those thinking this might be the year to catch him off guard.

Questions about Unemployment Insurance reforms in South Carolina

Depending upon who you ask, efforts to crack down on eligibility for unemployment insurance may or may not be paying off. This year, the agency that issues these payments says they're on track to pay out significantly less for unemployment claims, with an expected $300 million paid out, a full third less than the $450 million paid out in 2011.

Why is this important? The state's unemployment insurance fund is supported by payroll taxes from employers. Fewer claims allow the agency to cut back taxes and pay back money borrowed from the federal government to help make payments in past years.

But there are differing opinions on the issue about the potential for rate reductions for employers between agency staff and State Senator Kevin Bryant, an Anderson County Republican who chairs the State Senate's Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee's subcommittee that oversees unemployment insurance issues.

The wrong way to handle an immigration audit

There are right ways to handle an immigration compliance audit and there are wrong ways.

In Los Angeles, Yoel A. Wazana, 38, owner and production manager of Wazana Brothers International, Inc., doing business as Micro Solutions Enterprises (MSE), decided to try one of the wrong ways and will now have to plead guilty plead to one felony count of false representation of a Social Security number. This comes after a 2008 raid resulted in the arrest of eight company workers on criminal charges and another 130 for  administrative immigration violations. 

Considering the extent to which he attempted to cover up potential problems, he's lucky to get off so lightly:

National Journal: Scott one of four House sophomores to watch

As Tim Scott heads towards a likely strong re-election win in the coastal First Congressional District, he's building quite a following locally as well as drawing national attention. He recently addressed the Republican National Convention in Tampa and was named the first of four rising sophomore members of the U.S. House worth watching in the National Journal:

He's part of the elected leadership council, launched his own leadership PAC, and most recently had about 200 people come and attend a conference on entrepreneurship at the Capitol that include visits from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, and Dominoes Pizza CEO (arguably the most influential of the three) Patrick Doyle. While not necessarily the most groundbreaking conference, Scott made it clear he doesn't mind standing on a big stage.

Also named were Tom Reed (R-NY), Diane Black (R-TN) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

Glenn Rhoad: One of the Good Guys

A regular face in Berkeley County government and politics, former Coroner Glenn Rhoad, died earlier today after a long battle with cancer.

In addition to serving as Coroner for two terms, Rhoad had previously led the county Sheriff's uniform patrol division, helped found the Pimilico Volunteer Fire Department and was very active in the county's chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Those who knew him would likely tell you that Glenn Rhoad was known for being a little unpolished, but direct and honest, especially in tough situations. He didn't always tell you what you wanted to hear, but he was well-known by many for being the one most likely to tell you what you needed to hear and was a trusted voice in his community. He didn't need to be front and center in a situation, but he would be one who would make sure problems were handled.

It's not often you'll find someone as dedicated to public safety in their community as he was. Good neighbors like this with such long records of public service in their community aren't a dime a dozen. Rhoad will certainly be missed.

Republican Liberty Caucus and "Forgotten Victims"

In a poor attempt to mark the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 with some sort of statement, the Republican Liberty Caucus didn't memorialize those lost that day, thank veterans or first responders, call for donations to worthwhile causes or challenge our nation to remain vigilant.

As usual, they're going to do something others wouldn't dare do - score political points, this time by talking about "the forgotten millions who have endured a decade of unprecedented assaults on their most basic rights". The screen capture of their "tribute" is presented to the right.

We checked around to see what they were talking about:

  • We still have freedom of speech and the press,
  • We can still buy and shoot guns,
  • Cops still need to get search warrants, and
  • We can still worship how we want.

... so we're not sure what "most basic rights" are being attacked in what was yet another display of clueless insensitivity by the group, which backed a string of losing candidates in the spring primaries, most notably Peter vonLehe Ruegner, who lost his challenge to Rep. Chip Limehouse by a margin of greater than three-to-one.

Some people never learn

Even though Charleston County Democratic activist Henry Copeland failed in his first effort to pull the wool over the eyes of Charleston County Republicans, that doesn't seem to stop him from trying again.

Last year, Copeland sought to brush his Democratic affliations under the rug, with the help of RINO school board members when he tried to get appointed by Charleston County legislators to fill a vacant seat on the Charleston County School Board. This year, he's running for one of the board's seats, which are elected county-wide, in the November general election.

This time around, most Republicans are smarter, rallying around Brian Thomas, who was appointed by the county's legislators to fill the vacant school board seat. 

But we're guessing that Copeland isn't any smarter this time around. Or maybe he's got a new trick in mind to con his way into a school board seat. The next few weeks will tell the tale.

In case you have any doubt what Copeland's really all about, here is video footage of Copeland stumping at this year's convention of the Charleston County Democratic Party:

So how did YOU commemorate 9/11?

While Romney called upon Americans to remember 9/11 and Obama hustled for campaign volunteers to mark the anniversary of this tragic occasion, here's how others marked the occasion:

So how's that foreign relations "reset" thing working out?

Remembering David Retik

The Project 2996 website asks bloggers and those using social media to select someone lost in the 9/11 attacks, research them and write about them, using a list they provide.

In the past, the Blogland has talked about Thomas Burnett (Flight 93) Johnny Heff (FDNY Ladder 11), Fr. Mychal Judge (FDNY Chaplain) Daniel O'Callaghan (FDNY Ladder 4), Don Regan (FDNY Rescue 3), Benito Valentin (World Trade Center).

This year, the Blogland chose David Retik.

Lancaster GOP House candidate feuding with party?

Recently, we reported on the struggling candidacy of Ryan Payne, the Republican candidate in a three-way race for House District 44 in Lancaster County. As of the most recent campaign finance reporting, Payne had a mere four thousand dollars cash-on-hand while Mandy Norrell, the Democratic candidate had six times that amount in the bank.

But Payne's problems don't stop there.

Payne has been attacking his county's Republican Party executive committee, demanding the entire ex-comm resign after they cast a near-unanimous vote to suspend a rule in order to allow Republicans to support petition candidates, following a similar move made by the state GOP:

We haven't forgotten

... and hope you won't either.

We'll see you tomorrow.

Tinubu: Hope ain't enough

Yesterday, Gloria "The Green Quitter" Tinubu, opened a campaign office in Florence, calling Florence County "a very important base that we have to absolutely secure at a very significant level" (as opposed to at a superficial level, we suppose).

Since Tinubu has spent much of the last twenty years running up and down the East Coast, crashing colleges, suing airlines, warning of racism in the Olympics and running perennial candidacies, she might not know how tough it can be for a Democrat running for Congress to carry Florence County.

Florence County, which spent most of the last twenty years in the Sixth District, wasn't one of Jim Clyburn's favorite counties. In fact, it was the only county in the district that he wasn't assured of winning, even though he regularly won the district by a two-to-one margin.

Berkeley County rallies to help families of slain women

The efforts to help the families of June Guerry and Dana Woods, who were recently murdered in the Francis Marion National Forest near Moncks Corner, are still ongoing. If you're in the Lowcountry, here are some events you may want to put on your calendar:

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at Gilligan's at the Dock in Moncks Corner 
  • Thursday, September 13, 2012 at Zaxby's in Moncks Corner 
  • Saturday, September 15 at 9:00am at ATP Gun Shop and Range in Summerville 

Other benefits have been held since this took place and more are in the works. To give directly to the official relief funds, here's where to send the money:

  • "Dana Marie Woods Memorial Fund" at any First Federal Location
  • "June Guerry Memorial Fund" (Just mention name) at any Wells Fargo Location

Curiously we've been informed by family members that Wal-Mart, who was June Guerry's employer, has not been involved in any of these efforts.

Law enforcement has not discussed the case, which is an indication their investigation is still ongoing, and the two arrested remain in jail at this time. Not surprisingly, Charleston Thug Life has a story on them.

As Dana's family is close to the Blogland, we'll be sure to keep you posted. You can also keep up via Facebook:

Tinubu campaign struggling?

Seventh District Democratic Congressional candidate Gloria Tinubu showed up in Charlotte, addressing the South Carolina convention delegates to seek their support for her candidacy. Reportedly, Democrats are continuing to show lukewarm support for her candidacy since she won the Democratic run-off in late June:

Tinubu, an economics professor and former Georgia assemblywoman, surprised the party’s establishment by winning the Democratic primary in June. She faces Horry County Council chairman Tom Rice in November.

Since then, many of her supporters have complained the party brass is not getting behind Tinubu, whose campaign is currently running a debt. Privately, many state Democrats express doubt about her chances.

These problems are nothing new. The Blogland has been in touch with a number of well-known Democrats who've had nothing nice to say about Tinubu, some of whom don't want her to win out of concern she will become a liability to their party. Considering the information that we've discussed on this blog, as well as what has surfaced elsewhere, we could understand their concerns.

We guess that one Jim Clyburn is plenty.

Internal data shared with the Blogland had indicated that she continues to suffer from low name recognition and trails badly. Also, sources have indicated that her campaign's "7-7-7" fundraising appeal, which sought to raise $700,000 in a week, failed miserably.

Walton Cartoon: "Time for R and R"

Guest Op-Ed: State Rep Tommy Stringer - "Profiting from Hardship: Obama’s Broken Promise"

This guest op-ed was penned by State Rep. Tommy Stringer, who is president of a pension compliance company and represents part of Greenville County, in which he warns:

The harm resulting from Obama’s unfulfilled campaign promise cannot be overstated. By refusing to use his Democrat majority in Congress to eliminate this 401(k) penalty, Obama increased the hardship on working Americans ... Even worse, he allowed the federal government to profit from that hardship.

Here's the full editorial:

In October 2008, just 22 days before the presidential election, Barak Obama released his “Rescue Plan for the Middle Class.” The plan contained several promises designed to help middle-class workers weather the economic crisis.

One promise addressed the amounts that workers had saved in their 401(k) accounts. Obama proposed allowing workers to withdraw up to $10,000 from their 401(k) accounts without penalty. Note that current IRS rules demand a 10% penalty to be paid if the worker is under age 59 1/2. This penalty is in addition to federal income tax.

Endorsing Paul Thurmond (again)

With the decision to re-open filing for the GOP field for Senate District 41, three candidates have entered the race: Wally Burbage, Walter Hundley and Paul Thurmond. Here's our take on the three Republican candidates.

Burbage lost a special election primary for the seat handily in the spring. We believe the voters' judgment upon his candidacy should apply to this race as well and it's hard to see how someone who loses in a landslide in the spring could prevail in a second race several months later.

Hundley won the special election primary, defeating three others, including Burbage, in the first round of voting and went on to defeat Democrat Paul Tinkler in the special general contest. He had promised to seek the seat in the special election, to serve as a place-holder until a permanent successor to Glenn McConnell could be elected in November. Now, he's not stepping aside.

The Blogland supported Paul Thurmond for this seat back in June before courts got in the way of the primary. Although there are new faces in the race, we stand by that endorsement:

Following Mick Mulvaney

If anyone isn't following The Crescent, an online media website published by Upstater Taft Matney, they should. Matney's effort looks at life, culture and politics in the Palmetto State and sends out a "Week in Pre-View" email to give you a heads-up about what to expect.

Matney has been publishing a multi-part series of in-depth interviews with Fifth District Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who has been making a name for himself in Washington following his 2010 upset of former House Budget Chair John Spratt:
Congressman Mulvaney says and does things you might not expect. For example, you don’t expect a leader in the Republican Party to say things like, “I hate the Republican Party talking points. They make me sick and tired.” Okay, then. It’s just another example of being an independent thinker. Sure. He very frequently votes with his South Carolina Republican delegation members and has become somewhat famous for it, but he is still is own man.
While others on the SC delegation have been getting publicity, especially Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott and Joe Wilson - who represent the state's three metro media markets, have been getting lots of publicity, Mulvaney's quiet but thorough and thoughtful work shouldn't be overlooked. Matney does a great job of sharing Mulvaney with his readers and we recommend you give the series a read: PART ONE - PART TWO - PART THREE. 

Matney is promising a Part Four soon, which you don't want to miss.

Supreme Court denies appeal, keeps Bennett on Senate 38 ballot

A ruling just released may have ended the long-running court battle over the outcome of the GOP primary for the Summerville-based State Senate District 38. Earlier today, the Supreme Court denied an appeal which sought to replace Sean Bennett, who won the June primary, with incumbent Senator Mike Rose, who lost to Bennett.

But these days, who really knows when these kinds of matters will really be over?

A copy of the ruling is provided below:

Petition candidates poor in Grand Strand & Pee Dee - but so are others

There are six contested fall legislative races in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee with petition candidates. What these races share is the fact that few candidates of any stripe had significant amounts of cash on hand in mid-summer, unlike candidates elsewhere in the state, meaning that few of them are in any sort of competitive position as the fall campaign season begins to heat up.

Of all the candidates in races with petition candidates in these regions, those with the most cash on hand were two Democrats: Chesterfield County Democratic State Rep. Ted Vick, who is seeking re-election to his House seat after quitting the Seventh District congressional race, and Clarendon County State Rep. Kevin Johnson, who is seeking to move into the Senate seat being vacated retiring Senator John Land. Vick and Johnson's cash positions paled in comparison to cash leaders elsewhere in the state, with just $40,806.07 and $14,916.91 respectively.

Out of the eighteen candidates in these six contests, only Vick, Johnson and Dennis DiSabato (a petition candidate for House Seat 56 in Horry County) had more than ten thousand dollars cash on hand, putting them far ahead of most of the other candidates.

Midlands and Lowcountry petition candidates mostly broke

Unlike the Upstate, the Charleston and Columbia regions saw far less activity by petition candidates, with no more success in the bank than those in the Upstate. Of the five races with petition candidates running (all against Republicans), not a single one led cash on hand, even in the one race where the GOP candidate had just waged a costly primary campaign. In these races, petition candidates held a cash on hand shares ranging from 47% of the combined total for the race to less than one percent.

The heavyweights in these races are incumbent Republican House Speaker Bobby Harrell, leading petition challenger John Steinberger over 90-to-1 ($121,467.93 to $727.82) and GOP Senator Jake Knotts, who also leads petition challenger Katrina Shealy by a staggering $108,376.57 to $4,708.65.

Republican candidates also hold cash-on-hand leads in the other three races, two by three-to-one margins. As in the Upstate region, these numbers show where these petition candidates are having much success developing the support needed to wage viable candidacies as the fall campaign season begins to kick off.