On Tuesday, Mike Burns missed winning the five-way GOP primary for House District 17 by a mere eight votes - and roughly ten percentage points ahead of Chris Sullivan, who he'll face in a February 5th runoff.
While it's not impossible for candidates to close a ten-point gap in a run-off, Burns is leaving nothing to chance, which is smart considering that Sullivan came within ten points of ousting Senator Mike Fair in the June GOP primary.
Today, we see more evidence of how seriously Burns is taking the run-off challenge - and how seriously he's being taken by others - as he released endorsements from five Upstate legislators. The endorsements include Senator Tom Corbin, who'd vacated the District 17 House seat in November when he was elected to the Senate, along with House members Dan Hamilton, Phyllis Henderson, Dwight Loftis and Phillip Owens - all of whom represent areas near or adjacent to District 17.
According to the endorsement press release:
On endorsing Mike Burns, Senator Tom Corbin issued the following statement, “I want someone who is fiscally responsible, pro-gun rights, pro-life, and someone who possesses good common sense. But there is another factor here that I think it is extremely important. I will be voting for someone who is anchored in my community; someone who truly loves and cares for the people of House District 17.”
Representative Phillip Owens stated, “Mike Burns and I created several textile plants, which we later sold. His common-sense business approach to everyday situations will be a much-needed addition to the SC State House of Representatives. Mike Burns was not only my business partner, but also a great friend. I look forward to serving with him in the SC House.”
For Representative Dwight Loftis, endorsing Mike Burns was an easy decision. “I have known Mike Burns all through the years. …I grew up and spent a major portion of my life in the area of House District 17, where Mike grew up and has always lived. Mike is quite an astute businessman who has demonstrated his willingness to share knowledge. …Mike Burns’ life-long residency living among the people of District 17 helps him to know and understand the values, wants and needs of you, your friends and neighbors, because he is one of you!
Representative Phyllis Henderson appreciates the contributions that Mike Burns has made to the community. As a businesswoman, she understands how the business world works. As a legislator she sees the need for more businessmen and women to serve in the state legislature. “Mike Burns brings to Columbia a much-needed common-sense approach to problem solving. And we have a lot of problems to solve. I am also impressed with his dedication to his family, church and the community where he has lived his entire life, except when he attended and graduated from the University of South Carolina. I look forward to serving with Mike Burns and I encourage the voters of District 17 to elect Mike to the State House of Representatives.”
Representative Dan Hamilton, who serves a district that shares a precinct with HD 17, believes that Mike Burns is the candidate who will best serve the upper part of the county as well as the entire state overall. Rep. Hamilton sees the need to have someone who has lived in their district their entire life and the contributions that they have made to the community. “I hope the voters in HD 17 realize the quality of candidate that Mike Burns is. He is selfless, pro-gun rights, pro-life, fiscally responsible and his common-sense approach to business will transfer well into the legislative process in Columbia. We need more businessmen that understand the value of the bottom line and the need for fiscal restraint and responsibility.”