The Battle for Interstate 80

Back in the summer, I predicted that the race for the White House would come down to a fight that would follow one of two Interstate highway corridors: Interstate 95, which runs down the Eastern seaboard, and Interstate 80, which runs across the center of the nation from New York to California.

I predicted that if Obama could force Romney to fight for swing states along I-95: Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia, there would be no way that Romney could win, but if Romney could gain the upper hand in those I-95 swing states and go on offense in a number of swing states that straddle I-80, he would go into the last two weeks with a serious chance of winning.

With the battleground now shifting to the I-80 corridor from the I-95 corridor, Romney shattered the original Obama plan to use Florida, Ohio and Virginia as their electoral firewall, moved the battleground to a string of states along Interstate 80 and put the Obama campaign into an unexpected defense mode in a race which could go either way.

B.R. Skelton cut off by GOP?

Yesterday, the Blogland reported that the SCGOP Executive Committee endorsed Ed Harris, the petition challenger of Pickens County state Rep. B.R. Skelton, after Skelton pushed for legal action to have Harris disqualified after scoring a three-point upset over Skelton in the June GOP primary.

Harris was also endorsed by the Pickens County Republican Party.

But these aren't the only indications that the GOP is turning it's back on Skelton.

A look at Skelton's late-filed campaign finance report shows that he raised roughly eight thousand dollars, an amazingly low sum for an incumbent legislator. None of this money came from party sources, such as the House GOP caucus - but he did get $1000 from the South Carolina Education Association's PAC.

Creepy Copeland on the attack

This year, a scary monster is running around Charleston County, harassing and intimidating all who get in his way - and now he's hoping Charleston County voters will be fooled or intimidated into allowing him to get a seat on the county's school board.

After quitting a school board seat in downtown Charleston, Democrat Henry Copeland has donned different disguises, hoping to hide the monster inside. He's even tried to make people think he's not a Democrat - but pictures don't lie.

He also went after a Facebook group - "Henry Copeland is a Democrat" - which criticized him and getting Facebook to content that he disagreed with (some of this content has been discussed here and we've never heard from him).

State GOP rejects Rep. B.R. Skelton, endorses petition challenger

On Saturday, the South Carolina Republican Party Executive Committee voted to endorse Ed Harris for State House District 3 over the incumbent GOP state Representative B.R. Skelton.

Harris defeated Skelton in the June GOP Primary by a three percentage point margin, only to be removed from the ballot after Skelton threatened legal action against the leaders of the state and Pickens County Republican Party organization. 

According to a media release from Pickens County GOP Chair Phillip Bowers:

In an historic event, the South Carolina Republican Party endorsed Mr. Ed Harris for the 3rd District of the South Carolina House of Representatives today. This is the first ever endorsement of a petition candidate for House over the Republican listed on the ballot. Harris had been previously endorsed by the Pickens County Republican Party.

Through a series of legal maneuvers, the incumbent Republican, BR Skelton who has been in the House for 10 years, was able to secure a spot on the ballot even after losing the primary, and gain removal of Harris from the ballot, even though Harris decisively won the Republican Primary in June.

Harris faces Skelton again on the general election ballot as a petition candidate.

Walton Cartoon: "The Race"

Dems' sloppy hit-job mailing against Rep. Pitts: Loose on facts, big on spin

In the closing days of the race between Republican state Rep. Mike Pitts and Democrat Ed Taylor in House District 14, state Democrats decided to help their candidate out with an attack mailing, accusing Pitts of "bowing to Haley's demands" by voting for items on Haley's legislative scorecard.

We had a chuckle, first at the long links (haven't they heard of sites like, and then at the number of bills that passed with wide, bi-partisan support.

We're sure Democrats are hoping voters will make blind and uninformed assumptions about Pitts and his voting record, but in the Blogland, we're not that stupid. We looked at the bills listed on Haley's scorecard and the votes cast for each piece of legislation:

Democrat eviction alert: Henry Copeland's house of cards

Charleston County School Board candidate and Democratic Party member Henry Copeland isn't just lousy at picking up his own tab for events, forcing taxpayers to get billed for his free ride - he's also lousy at taking care of his bills and may have burned a rental tenant in the process.

As we did two years ago in a state House race on James Island ... if you have been living at 40 Bee Street, Unit 117, in downtown Charleston, been paying rent, enjoying life and have not yet received an eviction notice - you should watch for one real soon.

Documents received by the Blogland show that earlier this year, a foreclosure action brought against Copeland found that he had skipped a year of payments on the apartment, putting the property up for sale. This was not his primary residence and campaign filings show he claimed residence elsewhere, meaning the property was used for rental purposes.

This would mean that he'd pocketed as much as year's worth of rental payments received while leaving a tenant to face an unexpected eviction process.

A quick look at the Charleston County Clerk of Court website shows other judgement and convictions for Copeland.

The high price of Henry Copeland seems to be aimed at anyone and everyone who gets caught up in his web of shaky finances and shady political dealings. Hopefully Charleston County voters won't be so stupid as to give him a seat on their school board.

S.C. State University Board squabble another example of failed leadership and bad priorities

Having failed to figure out how to run a college, the board of S.C. State University is now having troubles figuring out how to run itself.

In recent weeks, the board held two votes for Chair, possibly electing John Corbitt to the post. This followed a board meeting in September where the Corbitt got only two of eleven votes cast. To add to the confusion, the board's attorney has informed the board that both the September and October meetings were illegal and that the board will have to hold another vote for Chair. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

Walter Tobin, who“thinks” he is the Chair because he was handed the gavel after the September vote, in spite of the fact rules say a Chair must receive a majority of votes from board members (he got five of eleven) says the Tuesday meeting will be illegal. He is accusing fellow board members of making the rules up as they go along, saying they "pick and choose the bylaws they want to follow", but from the sounds of it, that's how everyone does things at S.C. State.

Petition legislative candidates continue to struggle in money race

In the closing weeks of the fall state legislative campaigns, the data from October campaign finance reports filed by candidates in twenty-five legislative races with petition candidates shows that most major-party legislative candidates will enter the final weeks in a much better financial position than most petition candidates.

Data from the updates showed major party candidates continued to hold serious financial leads over most petition candidates. Specifically, major-party candidates led petition candidates by six-to-one in cash on hand and had raised nearly double the cash raised by petition candidates since the mid-July reports were filed by all candidates.

Out of all fifty-nine candidates seeking these seats (thirty-three of them petition candidates), just five – only one petition candidate – raised more than twenty thousand dollars since the July reports and only ten candidates – all either Republicans or Democrats - reported more than twenty thousand dollars in cash-on-hand.

In fact, the overall picture has changed very little from when we looked at the results from the mid-summer campaign finance reports (pts. 1, 2, 3).

Midlands legislative races outraising candidates elsewhere in S.C.

While the slow economy has made campaign fundraising tough going for many candidates around the state, you couldn’t tell that from watching legislative races in the Midlands. 

According to the October campaign finance reports, Midlands candidates for six key legislative contests are largely doing well in their fundraising efforts, and much better than those running in high-profile races elsewhere in South Carolina.

In these races, the twelve candidates in the six Midlands races have raised roughly two million dollars for their races, averaging $166,792.20 per candidate, with only one raising less than $100,000. Only two went into the final weeks with less than twenty thousand on hand and seven of them had in excess of fifty thousand left to spend, promising plenty of additional fireworks in those races:

Ted Vick: Farm subsidy welfare queen

We know times are tough for a lot of people in rural areas, but it's looking like those looking for help might not have a friend in Ted Vick as he seems rather busy helping himself to tens of thousands of dollars of farm subsidies.

Since 2005, when Vick began serving in the State House, the Chesterfield County state Rep has reportedly received nearly forty-one thousand dollars in federal farm subsidies:

One can't help but wonder why these payments began rolling in the year he took office. But it wouldn't be the first time someone's raised the question of him drawing in income based upon political connections.

While we might understand the need to help those who have been hit hard by a recession, we don't think someone who can afford to party in Columbia, loan their campaign thirty-six grand, or have time to run for Congress should qualify as someone who's down on their luck.

If anything, Ted Vick seems to be riding high on the proverbial hog - and taking taxpayers for a ride.

Bernstein pimping Fair Tax falsehoods in District 78 race

A screen capture of the Bernstein and Bernstein 
law firm's website, where she's a partner,
which lists their some of their services
Two years ago, Democrats sought to mislead voters in several House races by distorting the substance of the South Carolina Fair Tax legislation and using it to attack Republican candidates who expressed support for the legislation or the concept it embodied. It's an attack tactic that dates back to the 2004 Senate race, when Democrats used it to attack now-Senator Jim DeMint.

This year, Democrats are using this "Fair Tax Scare" tactic again, misrepresenting the substance of the legislation and claiming those who back it want to raise taxes. The newest perpetrator is Democrat attorney Beth Bernstein, who is hoping to fool District 78 voters in her effort knock off incumbent Richland County Representative Joan Brady.

Struggling to overcome Brady, Bernstein has launched a late-stage TV attack ad blitz (the ad is shown below) that couldn't be more misleading about Brady's position on taxes.

But it seems as if Bernstein is no stranger to perpetrating, seeing as how her law firm, where she is a partner, makes good money helping perpetrators of a different stripe.

Mulvaney rallies support for Fifth District GOP legislative candidates

Two years has made a big difference for Congressman Mick Mulvaney. Two years ago, he was fighting a hotly-contested challenge to an incumbent Democrat who had defeated a string of GOP challengers. This year, he faces a token challenge from an unknown and underfunded opponent.

Two years ago, Mulvaney was seeking all the help he could get, but this year, he's giving help to others by endorsing legislative candidates. In a series of appearances, Mulvaney has endorsed four Republican legislative candidates seeking seats in the Fifth District:

AT&T executive says S.C. schools need to "transform" and "not reform"

Asking "what have you done for me and for students and for your community today?", AT&T President for South Carolina Pamela Lackey, said radical changes were needed for the state's public schools at the 17th annual Business Education Summit, which was held in North Charleston earlier this week, saying “we need to transform the system, not reform.”

She'll get no disagreement from the Blogland on this.

Pamela Lackey warned of likely resistance to change by those who were invested in the status quo, cautioning that "that too many schools and districts will view efforts to transform the education system as a threat instead of an opportunity."

Which helps explain the resistance faced by even modest proposals, such as charter schools, which have taken years to make relatively incremental progress.

Reformers such as Education Superintendent Mick Zais have run into the same roadblocks, but when a major executive who actually has to run a business and deal with the end results of our state's schools is saying something has to change in a radical manner, we'd like to think she's onto something - and we're sure many of our readers will agree.

Fake Freedom Works flyer circulated in Horry County House race

House District 56 shown in blue
The race for State House District 56 in Horry County has been known for being one with a lot of bad blood. In a series of lawsuits and legal maneuvers, Dennis DiSabato and Mike Ryhal, both Republicans who are running as petition candidates, have worked at least as hard to stop each other in the courtroom as well in the ballot box.

Not surprisingly, the race has taken yet another nasty turn as a door-hanger comparison piece which claimed to be paid for by the national conservative group FreedomWorks was distributed to households through the district.

When contacted by Paul Gable of the Grand Strand Daily website, Freedom Works denied any connection to the piece, pointing out their focus was upon national races. The group's claim is consistent with the group’s record in South Carolina politics, where its efforts played a key role in supporting the candidacy of Fifth District Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who toppled then House Budget Chair John Spratt (D-York) two years ago, thus is believable.

The piece reported Ryhal as responding to the survey and reported DiSabato as being non-responsive to the survey's questions. A color scan of the piece is presented below.

Democrat efforts to hold Dick Elliot seat flaming out

Since the 1991 redistricting shifted the bulk of State Senate District 28 to Horry County, retiring Democratic Senator Dick Elliot was able to fend off a string of strong Republican challenges. But it looks like Elliot's departure will likely ensure the GOP takeover of the last Horry County-based legislative seat left in Democratic hands.

Once Elliot announced that he would not seek re-election this year, Republicans recruited Solicitor Greg Hembree to run for the seat while Democrats recruited Butch Johnson, a local businessman who lost past bids for Probate Judge and the State House.

It appears that Hembree has waged a far more aggressive campaign for the seat than Johnson and is well-positioned to flip the seat to the GOP. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, Butch Johnson reported raising a total of $1294.90 and had a mere $1.50 on hand to face Hembree, who reported raising $36,073.05 and had $21,835.75 on hand.

Everyone we've talked with expect Hembree to score a solid win in a couple of weeks, reporting that Hembree has waged an aggressive campaign and built a solid base of support while Johnson has done little campaigning, mostly in the rural Democratic-leaning areas of the district.

Walton Cartoon: "Carrison's here, Where's Coleman?"

Low turnout greets union efforts to organize Boeing

That is unless you consider that the number of those who attended the meeting was a mere 1.3 to 1.6 percent of the company's Lowcountry workforce of 6,100 - far short of the number needed to organize the facility and not much more than the number who voted in favor of blocking the decertification of the facility when just several hundred worked there three years ago (a vote the IAM lost in a 68-199 vote).

But for all we know, they may have just attended for free food and drinks.

In any event, in spite of the very low turnout for the meeting, which followed a mailing to Boeing employees, the union plans to hold more meetings in the future to attempt to get back into the facility. Given the nastiness that erupted last year over the plant and the presence of the union in Boeing plants elsewhere, it seems likely they'll be back.

GOP TV ad heats up Lowcountry Senate race

With court rulings and ballot disqualifications behind them, Senate Republicans are going all-out to hold the seat once held by Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell and currently held by GOP Senator Walter Hundley, who won the seat in a recent special election and is not seeking a full-term.

As part of their efforts, they're sticking it to Democrat Paul Tinkler, using his record on Charleston City Council with a TV spot:

House 39 race: Second time's the charm for Ralph Kennedy

Two years ago, Ralph Kennedy, the GOP nominee for House District 39, ran for the seat and made it to the GOP run-off against the now-retiring incumbent. This year, he's leaving nothing to chance.

Coming off a strong primary win with 57% of the vote, Kennedy is proving to be one of the strongest state House fundraisers this cycle, raising over $26,000 since mid-summer and reporting over fifty thousand dollars cash-on-hand. That puts him ahead of most legislative candidates this cycle, including incumbents.

While he faces a petition opponent, who was a disqualified GOP primary candidate, numbers we've seen show Kennedy well-positioned to win the November contest for the open seat in Lexington and Saluda Counties. No doubt aggressive fundraising will help the former prosecutor and rural school board member will play a key role in locking in his win.

Where is Katrina?

District 23 is circled in red to make it easier to find.
It's generally expected that both incumbents and candidates focus on being in their districts as much as possible campaigning and keeping in touch with district residents.

But in the case of Katrina Shealy, who is making her second bid for Senate District 23, the only thing that seems more challenging than raising money and keeping vendors happy is finding her district, as we've seen her often campaigning at events far from Lexington County over the last year.

After the incumbent managed to turn a close primary finish for the seat into a run-off blow-out four years ago, one would figure she'd be locked down on her district with every waking moment - but that doesn't seem to be the case.

SC "Freshmen Four" well-positioned for big wins in November

While Democratic prospects to scoop up the state's new Congressional district seem increasingly dim, the traditionally best targets - Congressional freshmen - don't look any more vulnerable to Democratic challengers either.

For this, they can thank a combination of factors, including friendly districts, strong fundraising leads and weak opponents.

South Carolina’s four freshman congressmen say they want to continue to fight for limited government and reduced spending, while their Democratic opponents accuse them of contributing to gridlock in Washington. Republican Reps. Tim Scott, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney discount that characterization, saying they were elected to stem spending. Their opponents face long odds, with little cash to spend on their campaigns in heavily conservative districts.

Of the four Congressmen, Duncan in the 3rd and Gowdy in the 4th District won't be impacted much by last year's redistricting, with both of their districts changed little in last year's redistricting, both shedding some of their more-distant and rural areas. However, the 1st and 5th Districts changed considerably in favor of their Republican incumbents:

Fundraising reports another sign of pending GOP romp in 7th District

Seventh District GOP congressional nominee Tom Rice isn't just taking a lead in polling in the race for the seat - he's also taking a strong lead in the money race, while Tinubu is nearly broke as the campaigns head into the final stretch in the race for the state's new Congressional seat.

According to the most recent FEC reports (due September 30), Rice is holding a sizable lead in cash on hand over Democrat Gloria "The Green Quitter" Tinubu, with $390,723 left to spend compared to $26,074 for Tinubu. 

Rice's has held a strong lead in the fundraising with $1,228,312 in contributions to date against just $190,826 in donations for Tinubu. While Rice loaned his campaign $100,000, Tinubu loaned her campaign most of it's total funds - $302,000. Having loaned that much to her campaign already, it's hard to see how she can afford to continue bankrolling her campaign.

While Tinubu was able to finance a strong primary campaign and promised that her campaign was "working very aggressively", the fundraising data is more evidence that her campaign has been dead in the water since she won the June run-off. 

Although the district's demographics gave Republicans a slight lead which some thought would give the right Democrat a chance to squeeze out a win, it's looking increasingly Tinubu is dead in the water, unable to stop Rice from surging towards the finish line with a stronger-than-expected finish.

Perhaps Tinubu's decision to give up her Georgia State House seat last year wasn't such a good idea after all.

Dem House candidate arrested for public drunkness

While Austin Smith, the Democratic challenger of Florence State Rep. Kris Crawford, has enough of an uphill battle in the Republican-trending district, it seems like that his Wednesday night arrest for public drunkenness won't help things much.

Smith drew the attention of officers who were called to a Florence bar to investigate an altercation that did not involve him. During their investigation, he drew their attention when he asked for the officers to give him a sobriety test so he could know if it was safe for him to drive home, telling them they were “public servants and he paid their salary.”

Smith told the officers had been drinking since 3 p.m. that afternoon afternoon, which he described as his “typical routine for Thursday.” Perhaps if he was spending his Thursdays reaching voters, which most candidates do this close to Election Day, his campaign might be doing better - and he certainly wouldn't have spent the night in the Florence County jail.

The House candidate, who is in his last semester studying political science at Francis Marion University, was also arrested in July for underage drinking. It seems like there's a pattern here.

Looks like the most important lessons that Smith is learning these days aren't taught in a classroom.

Copeland's school district scam starts early

If one wants to administer an intelligence test to Charleston County politicos, ask them about the political affiliation of school board candidate Henry Copeland.

Even though Copeland's vocal support of Obama should make it obvious to one and all that he's a liberal Democrat, there are still some Charleston County Republicans seem to buy what he's selling - and who would therefore fail the aforementioned intelligence test.

While what he's selling should be of concern, what he's taking from taxpayers should be even more concerning.

The Blogland received a copy of an invoice where the Charleston County School District was billed for an event fee for Henry Copeland. While Copeland is currently running for a seat, he has never served on the board, thus shouldn't be attempting to have anything billed to the school district (see below for a snapshot of the invoice).

Federal court ruling keeps Thurmond on November ballot

Should Paul Thurmond win the contest to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell next month, he'll probably have jumped through more hoops than anyone trying to overcome backroom political dealings to win an election since his father won his U.S. Senate seat as a write-in candidate in the 1950s.

Thus far, Thurmond has waged a spring primary, won a state court ruling and then won fall primary and a run-off contests for the seat.

Barring another bizarre legal motion, UFO abduction or something equally strange (as if this chain of events hasn't been strange enough), Thurmond will face Democrat Paul Tinkler, who was silent on the federal lawsuit, next month.

Walton Cartoon: "Everything's Imported"

"Binders" and punishing equality in the workplace

In this week's Presidential debate, when Mitt Romney discussed his efforts to ensure gender diversity in hiring cabinet positions as Governor of Massachusetts, one might've thought feminists would have praised him for openly embracing the importance of ensuring gender equality in the workplace - but once again, they proved that no good deed goes unpunished.

When Romney was confronted with a pool of mostly-male candidates to help him run Massachusetts state government, he made an effort to cast a wider net by specifically seeking out female candidates - hence the "binders of women" remark, which was likely intended to mean "binders of resumes from women". The result of this effort was that ten of the twenty top positions in his administration where filled by women, including Beth Myers, his Chief of Staff, and Jane Edmonds, a self-admitted liberal Democrat who was appointed Secretary of Workforce but who spoke glowingly about him at this year's GOP convention (please see her convention speech below).

While one would think that Romney would be praised for creating more opportunities for women, the news media and Internet was full of attacks from those on the political Left who ignored the substance of his comments and used the phrase "binders of women" out of context to fuel their latest political attacks against him.

Again, here's where I step out of the political context and put on my human resources hat to discuss this issue in a more informed context.

Sheri Few vs. Katrina Shealy: The Lawsuit

Earlier in the year, Sheri Few, a Midlands social conservative activist best known for making several bids for Richland County House District 79, worked for petition Senate candidate Katrina Shealy. 

Later in the year, Sheri Few filed a lawsuit against Shealy in Lexington County, alleging unpaid bills from working on Shealy's campaign.

A review of Shealy's campaign finance reports shows that Few was working for her campaign in the spring. While we'd been told that the lawsuit would go away, it's still ongoing.

The Blogland tried to get to the bottom of who, what, why and how much, but few people wanted to talk about this ongoing lawsuit and nobody wanted to talk on the record. Those we did talk with alleged a wide range of complaints, including intimidation of people on both sides of the suit, incompatibility between Few and Shealy and Shealy not paying her bills - a story which seemed plausible considering Shealy's campaign being nearly broke around the time Few parted ways with her campaign.

A story we ran a while back indicated that Shealy's campaign was scraping the bottom of the financial barrel in it's mid-July report, having burned through upwards of sixty thousand bucks in the spring and had under five grand on hand at the time of the report (while her Republican opponent had over 100K cash on hand). While updated reports were due on October 10, her campaign had yet to file one (neither had her opponent).

While it would have been nice if someone was willing to go on the record, the bottom line is that there's a lot of finger-pointing, hurt feelings and a near-broke Senate candidate who might owe some people some money. It certainly isn't good publicity for Shealy's candidacy.

Mark your calendar: Barwick for Senate event with Mick Mulvaney

This Thursday, Congressman Mick Mulvaney will be joining GOP Senate candidate Tony Barwick at Lugoff-Elgin High School to help rally support for Barwick's Senate candidacy.

Barwick is seeking the Senate seat being vacated by State Senator Phil Leventis (D-Sumter). The seat is considered a toss-up district.

The event starts at 5:30 pm, with live music, hot dogs and chicken bog. It's free for district residents, but others are encouraged to show up with campaign contributions.

If you need directions, the address is 1284 U.S. 1 Lugoff, SC 29078.

We'll see you there!

Campaign fundraising questions suggest more trouble for Rep. Vick's re-election

There are signs emerging that Chesterfield County Democratic State Rep. Ted Vick's decision to seek re-election to his state House seat might not have generated much enthusiasm and even suggests that he may be cashing out in anticipation of a potential loss in November.

Earlier today, the state GOP hit Democratic Rep. Ted Vick for potential fundraising violations. Research indicated that of the $36,104.99 that Vick had transferred from his Congressional campaign account to his State House re-election campaign account, ten of those transfers worth $9500 exceeded state campaign contribution limits.

In the campaign finance report which was filed in mid-July, which would have included the entire two month period after he quit his Congressional race in May, Vick reported raising $39,854.99. But subtract the transfers and Vick raised just $3,700, meaning his fundraising effectively flat-lined in the spring. 

Then subtract the over-donation amounts and he reports a net deficit for the reporting period. That's hardly an impressive amount for an incumbent state legislator facing a fall challenge - but there's more.

Peatsy Hollings

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Peatsy Hollings, wife and long-time partner for former Senator Fritz Hollings, who departed this Earth over the weekend.

Tim Scott & Glenn McConnell endorse Harrell re-election

After struggling to resolve a virus-infected website, John Steinberger's campaign to oust House Speaker Bobby Harrell took another hit over the weekend when Harrell rolled out a TV spot which included the endorsements of Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell and Congressman Tim Scott.

With the Steinberger campaign struggling to raise funds and attract support, it's hard to see how they'll be able to respond to this one.

Walton Cartoon: Pot meet Kettle

The Policy Council sell-out continues

More signs are emerging that the South Carolina Policy Council is becoming the latest tool of the left-wing environmental group Coastal Conservation League (CCL). 

After announcing their partnership with CCL over the issue of transparency in government, the Policy Council is devoting an increasing amount of effort to help the environmentalist group's efforts to combat economic development and infrastructure projects in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

While some thought shooting at House Speaker Bobby Harrell, a major proponent of the Interstate 526 completion project, just after a public survey showed a widespread rejection of the CCL's efforts to block the project, was a coincidence, seeing the Policy Council take a more active role in attacking the project seems to confirm they've sold out to the left-wing group.

And these are the people who say they have the right to judge who is a RINO and who isn't? 

Maybe they should get a mirror.

Carol Tempel's Pay-to-Play Politics

When Carol Tempel got the support of the obscure Working Families Party for her petition candidacy for State House District 115, one has to wonder if she got that support the old-fashioned way - by paying for it.

While other campaigns got their petition signatures via efforts by volunteers, Tempel paid for the gathering of signatures - and possibly the endorsement of the Working Families PartyAccording to her October campaign finance report, her campaign paid "SC Working Families" over three thousand dollars for canvassing for petition signatures to get her on the ballot after she was bumped off the Democratic Party ballot in the spring.

The Working Families Party has been linked to ACORN, and it's New York affiliate has been accused of selling its services in other states. Among the critics of the Working Family Party's pay-to-play approach to politics is the New York Times, which wrote:

Created a decade ago, and built with union support, the Working Families Party has become an increasingly important force in New York politics. It favors a progressive agenda on issues like affordable housing and better public transportation, and has plenty of money. But its real strength is its army of political operatives. The party formed a corporation, called Data and Field Services, as a way to market the party’s expertise — sophisticated lists of voters, for instance — to favored candidates.

That's rather fine company to bring into the South Carolina Lowcountry.

The "pay to play" approach that Tempel has used to get on the ballot and court the support of an ethically-challenged far left political organization doesn't seem to indicate strong grass-roots support for her challenge to incumbent GOP State Rep. Peter McCoy - and should raise questions about her and the political company she's keeping.

Ed Carter and sexual harassment charges - another Post and Courier hit job

In recent weeks, the folks at the Charleston Post and Courier seem to be on a mission to attack and smear Republican candidates. Their latest victim: House District 97 GOP nominee Ed Carter.

The Blogland hasn't always been nice to Carter, but unlike the Post and Courier, anything said about him on this website going to be honest and evidence will be presented to discuss the issues of concern in their proper context. 

Yesterday's attempt to dredge up an old sexual harassment allegation was sloppy and uniformed at best and malicious at worst. To help understand what's really up with this issue, I'll take off my political hat and put on my professional human resources hat.

Based upon my professional experience, I will say that Carter is not a sexual harasser. If you'd like to get my take, keep reading.

Happy Birthday to June Brailsford

June Brailsford is a big fan of the Blogland and a long-time GOP leader in Clarendon County. She is the current Treasurer of the Clarendon County Republican Party and always a smiling face when yours truly is in town.

It's also important to note that her son is responsible for feeding the one addiction of yours truly, as the owner of my favorite BBQ place - D&H BBQ in Manning.

Today, we have it on good authority that June turned 39 again and we wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday today. Please join us in extending best birthday wishes to June.

IAM & Boeing: When "No" doesn't really mean no

Having been booted from the Charleston Boeing facility, and then failed in getting their political allies to force a union upon the facility, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers labor union is back in Charleston, trying to get into the facility that didn't want them.

Obviously they don't think that "no" really means "no".

Don't let these guys take your daughter on a date.

Labor unions have been finding South Carolina tough going, as evidenced by a lopsided defeat in attempting to organize a Columbia plastics plant back in the spring.

Mark your calendar: Jim DeMint lunch in Winnsboro - next Monday

Jim DeMint is coming to Winnsboro to have lunch and raise funds for the Fairfield County GOP. He'll be joining them at Honeysuckle Acres in Winnsboro Monday next week and they're hoping you'll join them.

Tickets are ten bucks and sponsorships are one hundred - and you can even order your tickets and sponsorships online.

Honeysuckle Acres in Winnsboro is located at 70 Honeysuckle Lane in Winnsboro, South Carolina.

Walton Cartoon: Next four years?

Growing opposition to proposed federal hiring quotas

Back in December of last year, the Obama Administration's Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs posted a notice that the agency was planning to impose hiring quotas for individuals with disabilities on federally-funded projects. This proposal has drawn fire from a wide range of business and professional organizations who have expressed concerns about the adverse impact of this policy upon the business sector.

The proposed OFCCP policy would mandate a seven percent hiring quota for disabled and an additional two percent hiring quota for those with undefined “severe disabilities.” Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, claimed this policy will help reduce a thirteen percent unemployment rate for those with disabilities. Shiu defended the proposed mandates, claiming that "specific goals" and "real accountability" were needed to ensure increased hiring of disabled individuals on federally-funded projects.

Employee handbook rulings expand NLRB's reach into non-union workplaces

As an HR professional, I write professional blog in addition to the Blogland. Occasionally, I cross-post articles, such as this one, which discuss issues relative to the upcoming election, such as labor law, where the current administration and Mitt Romney hold very different views.

Employers who think that having a union-free workplace will protect them from National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) actions should think again. The federal labor agency has been broadening its reach into examining employer practices in non-union workplaces with no union activity taking place.

One area which is drawing increased scrutiny from the NLRB is the content of employee handbooks, as indicated by recent rulings issued by the board (Banner Estrella Medical Center, 358 NLRB No. 93, Hyundai America Shipping Agency Inc. 357 NLRB No. 80 and Karl Knauz Motors, 358 NLRB No. 164).

Unless the November elections result in a shake-up of the Board, employers and HR staff responsible for writing and maintaining the content of employee handbooks may want to scrutinize these documents for potential troublespots.

Questions about effectiveness of state OSH programs may lead to changes

Federal OSHA officials efforts to come up with effective measures for state-run Occupational Safety &  Health (OSH) programs keep coming up short, according to several reports which have examined how state-run programs are assessed. These measures are needed to ensure that state-run programs meet, if not exceed, standards and performance levels of the federally-run OSHA program which is applied in states without self-run programs.

Concerns about OSH programs in a number of states now include a report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Labor which has criticized the federal agency's ability to develop effective state OSH program measures. More bad news came in an August report from the Federal Annual Monitoring Evaluation (FAME), which criticized a number of states for the poor quality of whistle-blower programs.

These criticisms present major concerns for the quality and effectiveness of workplace safety and enforcement as the federal agency delegates the enforcement of workplace safety in many states, thus relying upon those states to develop effective safety programs that balance promoting safety with proper and effective enforcement.

Cahaly cleared of campaign misconduct charges

Long-time SC political strategist Robert Cahaly was cleared of charges related to campaign robo-calls made in the 2010 election cycle on Friday.

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, charges against Cahaly were dismissed by the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which was asked to handle the case after the S.C. Attorney General’s Office recused itself. An assistant solicitor with the office said Friday that prosecutors didn’t believe the statutes SLED cited in the charges  applied to the robo-calls, clearing Cahaly of any wrong-doing.

Cahaly was charged with six counts of automatically dialed announcing device violations in the fall of 2010. The calls were delivered to voting households in House Districts 26 (Greenville and Pickens Counties), 78 (Richland County), 79 (Kershaw and Richland Counties), 98 (Dorchester County), 108 (Charleston and Georgetown Counties) and 115 (Charleston County). 

Republican candidates won in all but one of those districts, knocking off Democratic incumbents in the races for Districts 108 and 115.

Will cruise terminal ruling draw Policy Council attacks?

The Coastal Conservation League  has become well-known for wrecking efforts to improve the economy and quality of life of the South Carolina Lowcountry by opposing economic development efforts and opposing pretty much every major infrastructure project. 

The recent announcement of their political alliance with the South Carolina Policy Council drew questions from those who thought there was little common ground between a group known for anti-capitalist activities and a group which claims to advocate broadening free-market activities. 

But when the Policy Council attacked House Speaker Bobby Harrell shortly after the Coastal Conservation League's (CCL) efforts to block the completion of Interstate 526 in Charleston County suffered a major blow when a mass survey indicated overwhelming public support for the project, a project which Harrell vocally supported, it suggested an active political alliance between the two groups. We're not the only ones who've asked this question.

It's not the same old Dick Harpootlian

There was a time when Dick Harpootlian was the SCGOP's worst nightmare. A tough-talking, bare-knucked politico, he inflicted major damage upon Palmetto State Republicans during his tenure as state Democratic Chair in the late 1990s - a role so legendary that they asked him to come back for a return engagement, hoping to bring back his old political magic and inflict more pain upon Republicans.

But judging by how he's trying - and failing - to keep Richland County Democrats from abandoning his efforts to topple GOP Senate President Pro Tem John Courson from his Richland County Senate District, it seems like Harpootlian has lost his magic touch.

Courson had already attracted the support of several Richland County Democrats, most notably Senator Darrell Jackson and Sheriff Leon Lott, but Thursday's announcement by a number of key Democrats who were endorsing Courson greatly bolstered the ranks and credibility of the Senate leader's crossover political support: State Senator Joel Lourie, State Rep. Jimmy Bales, Columbia City Councilman Cameron Runyan, Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson and former Richland Council chairman Tony Mizzell. Unable to keep the county's large contingent of Democrats unified behind Courson's challenger, Harpootlian opted for fire more attacks at those crossing over to support Courson.

Rex Rice's smoking fetish

In his attempts at making a political comeback, Rex Rice may want to tell Pickens County voters about his obsession with cigarette taxes.

While in the state House, Rice, who formerly represented parts of Greenville and Pickens Counties, was a perennial sponsor of bills creating and raising taxes on cigarettes for a variety of purposes - until the 2009/2010 session, when he was running for the GOP nomination for the Third Congressional District.

Maybe he didn't want to divide his time between convincing voters he was a fiscally-conservative candidate and raising taxes, but you'd have to ask him to be sure.