The Dorchester Wild Card?

Back in 2000, the last open race for the First Congressional District seat, much was made of outgoing Congressman Henry Brown's "stronghold" approach, in which Berkeley County and North Charleston politicos came out almost unanimously for Brown and campaigned for him. This approach paid off, as Berkeley County and North Charleston precincts gave Brown virtually all of his 5,000 vote lead in the GOP primary over second-place candidate Buck Limehouse, a prelude to his victory in the subsequent run-off.

In 1994, Mark Sanford surged from the back of a seven-candidate field into a distant second place behind former SCGOP Chair Van Hipp, relying heavily upon endorsements from most of the losing primary candidates to go from 17% to Hipp's 31% in the primary to a 53-47 victory in the run-off two weeks later.

Mindful of the value of this approach in deciding past races, the candidates in this year's race for the open First District seat have heavily courted endorsements from legislators, local politicos, party activists and business leaders. Thus far, the two best-funded candidates for the seat - Tim Scott and Paul Thurmond - have netted most of the endorsements, with announcements coming out almost daily from the two campaigns.

However, of the five counties in the district - Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry - virtually none of the endorsements for any candidate have come from Dorchester County.  Given the growing share of First District votes cast by that county, that could make the county's voters the wild card in next month's all-important GOP primary.

VUI's "Big Mo" theory

The “Big Mo” is fickle in politics. It can leave a candidate in a day. McMaster, Bauer and Barrett have all dealt with being the focus of the spotlight. Frankly, they did not perform as well as they probably hoped to in those moments. Now, the spotlight will turn for a moment to Haley. She is in the game. Whether or not she can find a way to win will be determined in the next few weeks.

McCarty may be on to something here.

In years of watching statewide races, it's worth noting that those who lead in name recognition throughout most of a race, but fail to close the gap often lead in the primary, but struggle to win the nomination. Notable examples were:

The trap of naming things after living politicians

Once again, the practice of naming public facilities in Southern states is coming under scrutiny. This time in Alabama, where a reporter found more than one road and public facility is still bearing the name of politicians who were later sent to prison:

It's a corruption trifecta, and that's almost as good as a road to the dump.

That's not just a road map. It's a history lesson.

In a story from the news portal website AccessNorthGA, Derek Alderman, a cultural geographer at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. cautioned against that practice, which is also rampant in Georgia:

Their legacy isn't even established yet.  They are more susceptible to the politics of the day.

Which takes us back to a long-standing controversy here in South Carolina over this same practice of politicians naming things after each other.

Medal of Honor recipient endorses TWO Congressional candidates in same race?

There seems to be a litte confusion in the First Congressional District GOP race about who has been endorsed by retired General James Livingston, a local Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.

According to a release from the Tim Scott campaign last week:

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, retired General James Livingston has joined 1st District Congressional Candidate Tim Scott’s campaign as an advisor.

General Livingston will advise Mr. Scott on issues relating to DOD (Department of Defense), Homeland Security and issues important to active duty and retired military.

This evening, the Stovall Witte campaign announced their endorsement by the same General:

Today, the Stovall Witte for Congress campaign thanked Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Major General James E. Livingston for joining his campaign as a national security-veterans affairs adviser.

Witte stated, "As a retired Army Lt. Colonel who spent twenty-four years serving our country, I have immense and immeasurable respect for General Livingston. I am ecstatic that he has agreed to help advise my campaign on the vitally important issues of national security and veterans affairs. He will be a true asset to my campaign for Congress."

If anyone would like to explain how one person can be supporting several candidates, we'd be interested in hearing from them ...

Elmer Fudd still lurking in Myrtle Beach?

We're not sure who Elmer Fudd really is either, but we're willing to bet that he didn't get elected Mayor of Myrtle Beach:

The true identity of Elmer Fudd may never be known.

Elmer Fudd is the alias used by an online commenter accused of making false claims about the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, NewsChannel 15 learned the chamber dropped its defamation lawsuit against Elmer Fudd. Chamber attorney Cherie Blackburn says chamber leaders think they know Elmer Fudd's identity, through information revealed in a related lawsuit that was settled last week.

She says they decided it was not worth the time or expense to continue the suit.

Advice to candidates: Avoid the lunatic fringe

After over twenty years of being involved in politics, I've learned at least a few things. One of the most important lessons is that the candidates can't be at every event, which means they have to rely upon supporters to distribute literature, get signs up, get signs down, and occasionally speak on behalf of the candidate if they can't make it.

Relying upon others is crucial for candidates for down-ballot offices, who can't raise the kind of cash that gubernatorial and senatorial candidates can. This means that they often can't afford to hire a team of campaign workers who know what to do, what events to attend, and when needed, speak for the candidate in a thoughtful manner, as well as know who is who at an event - including who not to piss off.

All too often, it's the novice candidates who, due to their lack of experience can't raise much cash or attract many seasoned politicos to support their candidacies, end up having to settle for the people who are willing to help - and end up with people whose involvement with their campaign will backfire and further damage their already-struggling candidacies.

The Blogland's 3G weekend network: Grits, Graduations & Greek Fest

The Blogland agenda for this weekend is real simple:

We hope to see some of our readers out there!

Are journalists the heroes in the ongoing Catholic Church scandals?

In yesterday's Charleston Post and Courier, my faculty Department Chair co-authored a letter which took the Roman Catholic Bishop of Charleston to task for criticizing news media criticism of the church's approach to handling clerical abuse allegations:

Guglielmone suggests the Church should receive credit for internal reforms, while not seeking to excuse the Church's 'bad decisions.' These reforms are important and significant, we agree. It is worth noting, however, that these reforms came only after the publication of stories in the news media.

If the community is asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the Church's response to child sexual abuse, we should do the same in recognizing the work of journalists in exposing decades of sexual abuse committed by thousands of priests and other people associated with the Church.

Beginning over two decades ago with the work of the National Catholic Reporter, journalists have done more to initiate reforms that protected children in the Catholic Church than has the Church hierarchy. Whatever their faults and failings, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists of The Boston Globe, for example, contributed greatly to saving another generation of children from abuse and brought justice to abuse victims.

This issue has been discussed often in the Blogland, and in this, Dr. McGee, a fellow Catholic, as well as Dr. Chris Lamb, have my appreciation for being willing to take a tough stand. If only the Vatican was as willing to be honest and candid ...

UK Election polls to close at 5p EDT - Here's where to follow the results

For those of you who don't have anything better to do on a Thursday night, you can follow live tracking of election results in the United Kingdom, which are expected to take several hours to be completed.

Late polling suggests the Conservatives will fall about ten to twenty seats short of the 326 seats needed for a majority, with Conservatives polling the support around 35-37% of surveyed voters, and the Labor and Liberal Democrat parties at 25-28% each.

Unless the outcomes suggest a major deviation from the outcomes which were predicted late polling, every seat will count in deciding who won today's elections.

Follow the British elections

Tomorrow is election day in Great Britain, where the election has turned rather heated, with the nation's third party, the Liberal Democrats, gaining ground at the expense of both the long-standing major parties: the Conservative and Labour parties.

The current Labour government, led by Tony Blair's successor Gordon Brown, is not expected to survive, unless the Conservatives fail to win a majority of seats, allowing them to negotiate with others to form a coalition government. While this is common in other parliamentary democracies, the idea is something new to the UK.

We'll be watching and rooting for Cameron Brown and his Conservative Party to end Labour's thirteen-year reign, but that outcome is far from certain.

To follow the outcome of things, The Telegraph will carry live coverage and will report on the outcomes of races for the individual seats, as well as a polling projection map, that is worth checking out. Electoral Calculus isn't as aesthetically-pleasing, but is at least as good, if not better, to track polling and make your predictions.

Rosemary Parham gets around

Earlier today, FITSNews ran pictures of 12th Circuit Solicitor candidate Rosemary Parham at the Galivant's Ferry Stump Rally, a regional political gathering held on the banks of the Little Pee Dee River right off U.S. Route 501.

It shows what some already know: Parham, who resigned her better-paying role as a federal prosecutor to challenge the incumbent Solicitor, is leaving no stone unturned in her campaign.

The above picture of Parham shows her astride a classic Harley last Saturday at Creek Ratz in Florence for the Bikes and Badges Event. Proceeds from this event go to benefit the Florence County Sheriff’s Office Camp Pee Dee Pride, a free camp for children 8 and 12 years of age.

We're sure there were Democrats at this event, just as there were more than a few Republicans at the Galivant's Ferry event. But unlike the joker who was camera-stalking Parham at the Galivant's event, we get good photos.

More fun photos from the 12th Circuit Solicitor's race to follow ...

Only Pope is Proven for House District 47

When voters go to the polls in next month's Republican primary in York County, their vote to decide a nominee for House District 47 is one which shouldn't be taken lightly. They have three candidates to choose from, but one of those candidates stands above the others.

Former Solicitor Tommy Pope is an exceptional candidate who deserves their vote and their support.

Pope's slogan simply identifies the one quality that sets him above the rest: "Proven". He alone has a record of dedicated public service, conservative leadership, and proven electability.

The Grim Reaper to re-enter South Carolina politics?

In the 2006 election cycle, the Grim Reaper made an unusual move by getting off the sidelines and entering two hotly-contested statewide election races in South Carolina.

The Reaper endorsed two Democratic nominees for statewide office: then State Senator Tommy Moore for Governor, and Drew Theodore for State Comptroller. Both candidates lost, giving rise to rumors that this endorsement was, as one political operative put it: "the kiss of f****in' death in this town".

When reached for comment, the Grim Reaper refused to say that he'd selected any candidates, promising us "when I take sides in some of these races, it's going to be an endorsement to die for".

Stay tuned ...

4th CD candidate target in latest campaign attack

Fourth District candidate and Spartanburg solicitor Trey Gowdy was reportedly the victim of mistaken identity in the latest attack in the heated GOP primary battle for this Upstate congressional district.

The other candidates have not commented on this incident, but we suspect an independent party with no connection to any of the candidates was the culprit.

While walking neighborhoods in Greenville yesterday, Gowdy ran into a dog which confused him for a Milk Bone - or maybe Nancy Pelosi - and decided to chew on him a little. Gowdy checked in with the Blogland:

Breakfast in Berkeley: Hundreds of people, dozens of candidates & straw polls too

Over 200 people turned out in Goose Creek for a standing-room only event at the May meeting of the Berkeley County Republican Breakfast Club.

Even the disgraced former Chair, Wade Arnette, whose failed attempt to hijack the group two years ago rallied the group to new turnout records, was there.

Candidates from statewide races down to county offices were there a'plenty. By our count, about two dozen of them were on hand and spoke to the crowd. The event included a straw poll which polled the audience's support of candidates for major statewide and regional offices, as follows:

Lee County Sheriff arrested in fed drug sting

Lee County Sheriff Edgar Jerome “EJ” Melvin, 47, of Bishopville was one of seven people arrested by state and federal authorities as part of a drug sting Saturday morning, according to a release from the US Attorney’s office.

Melvin has served as the Sheriff for Lee County, South Carolina, since 2001.

Also arrested Saturday morning in connection with the case were Brenda LaShawn Ellerby, 26; Antonio Holloman, 23; Larry Williams, 51; Eric Andre Hickman, 34; Anthony Lee Williams, 37, and Sheldon Maurice Bradley, 24, all of Bishopville, according to the release.

Melvin and the others arrested Saturday are charged in federal warrants with conspiracy since 2006 to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack in South Carolina, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 846, according to the release.

Melvin was re-elected to a third term in 2008, defeating Republican Jerry Tidwell. No word on if Tidwell, or someone else, will be appointed to replace Melvin.