503 postings in 365 days: Looking back at 2010

2010 has been a pretty wild ride in the Blogland - and one I'm glad is over. But at the same time, there's a lot to be thankful for. I certainly owe the growing numbers of Blogland readers a big THANK YOU!
Among the things I'm thankful for are an ever-growing readership, a record number of postings, the ability to give my readers a ringside seat to some of the hottest breaking news of the 2010 election cycle, the hospitality shown by my readers across the state and beyond, and the unfortunate moments in which I learned who my friends really were.
This year, the Blogland shared it's thoughts with our readers via a record 503 articles.
So let's look back at the year that was - and thankfully is no more ...

Lining up to replace Mulvaney

It looks like there will be a wide-open field to fill Congressman Mick Mulvaney's seat in the State Senate. Seven Republicans and a Libertarian are looking at running for the open Senate seat, in a district which reaches from the booming Charlotte suburbs in Fort Mill and Indian Land to the rural back end of Lancaster County.

This district has been in Republican hands since 1992, when former Senator Greg Gregory toppled 28-year incumbent Democrat Red Hinson. Mulvaney won the contest to fill the open seat two years ago, prior to kicking off his bid to oust John Spratt.

As Congressman-elect Mick Mulvaney prepares to join the U.S. House, seven Republicans and one Libertarian are eyeing his former state Senate seat.

The list of hopefuls - some declared, others still mulling it over - includes an accountant, pharmacist, car dealer, truck driver and senior home care consultant.

About the only thing missing is a Democrat.

The Bitch is (not) Back

Gov.-elect Nikki Haley won’t grant Oprah Winfrey an interview with Susan Smith, the Union mother convicted of killing her two sons in 1994.

Winfrey said on her show that aired Wednesday that she wanted to interview Smith for her final season. Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said the new governor won’t allow it.

“While Gov.-elect Haley has great respect for Oprah, let’s be clear: Ms. Smith got enough press when she killed her two children and lied about it to the country,” Godfrey said. “South Carolina suffered enough from this tragedy, and we are now focused on the positives in our great state.”

What we don't get is why Oprah was so desperate and cold-hearted as to consider the idea in the first place. It's petty and self-centered moments like this that make sure we won't miss her when her TV show goes off the air. But it's no more self-centered than Smith, who has continued to generate headlines since her incarceration.

In that regard, Winfrey and Smith probably have enough in common to fill at least an entire episode with the kind of fawning and whining that her show is well known for. Some people have no class. In this instance, this applies to Smith and Winfrey equally.

Jeff Duncan's energy mission

The Politico named Third District Congressman Jeff Duncan as one of ten House freshmen to watch on the subject of energy:

Jeff Duncan (S.C.) — The incoming Natural Resources Committee freshman wants to help boost the panel’s profile when it comes to energy issues. Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) lost his bid this year to swipe energy jurisdiction away from the Energy and Commerce Committee, but Duncan said there’s plenty of room for the Resources panel to get more active on energy issues by opening up federal lands that are currently off limits to energy exploration. “Let’s further explore the Outer Continental Shelf,” he said. He’d also like to see legislation to expand nuclear power and energy production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

This isn't surprising news to the Blogland - but it's certainly welcome news.

Alvin Greene on the State House special election scene

He paid the $165 filing fee on Christmas Eve to run in a special election. The 64th District seat was made vacant earlier this month after the death of Summerton Democrat Rep. Cathy Harvin. She died due to complications from breast cancer at the age of 56.

Cal Land is chairman of the Clarendon County Democratic Party and said Greene entered the race five minutes after the filing period opened.

More party switching

The fallout from November's elections continues with more elected Democrats jumping into GOP ranks:

GEORGIA: Republicans edge closer to their third legislative super-majority gain this year with State Rep. Bubber Epps joining the GOP, followed by State Rep. Rep. Mike Cheokas.

LOUISIANA: State Rep. Fred Mills crosses over, further building the GOP edge in that chamber.

Meet the 2010 Joker of the Year

When it comes to naming the Joker of the Year, there was no shortage of candidates for the title. However, we’re relieved that we won’t be awarding it to outgoing Governor Mark Sanford for a third year.

Instead of dropping yet another bomb on the Governor, we’ve found someone who truly blew it this year in a way that will be long remembered:

Outgoing Fifth District Congressman John Spratt - South Carolina's very own endangered species.

The 2010 Righteous Dude of the Year

As the Blogland is unrepentantly stuck in the 80s, only we would come up with a "Righteous Dude of the Year" award, inspired by that famous line in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off:

The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads — they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.

Naming this year’s Righteous Dude wasn’t easy, as there were so many who made a big splash on the state’s political scene this year. But decisions had to be made, and we made our choice:

First District Congressman Tim Scott.

More names in House District 64 race

It may be the week of Christmas, but that doesn't slow down Clarendon County politics one bit as more look at jumping into the race to fill the seat vacated by the passing of State Representative Cathy Harvin.

County Council Chair Dwight Stewart has entered the race, making it at least a two-way Democratic primary with Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Manning. There may be more coming, as we've heard Clarendon County Coroner Hayes Samuels and former Senate candidate Alvin Greene are considering running. There is also the possibility of a member of State Senator John Land's family jumping in.

Republicans have a couple of candidates looking at the race as well.

Getting tough on Lowcountry scumbags

Two losers will be gone for a long time, thanks to a couple of Lowcountry judges ...

Last Thursday, Circuit Judge Kristi "Handcuffs" Harrington sents this Berkeley pedophile away for life:

The jury found Ronald Lee McCauley of Summerville guilty of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of unlawful conduct toward a minor and two counts of lewd act upon a child, according to a statement released by the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Circuit Judge Kristi Harrington sentenced McCauley to three terms of life without the possibility of parole.

Then on Friday, Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson gave this cop-shooter the max:

A jury took less than one hour Friday to find Brandon Simmons guilty of shooting Charleston County Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey DeGrow six times.

Simmons, 22, received the maximum 25-year sentence from Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson, 20 years for one count of assault and battery with intent to kill and five years for one count of possessing a firearm during a violent crime. The years will run consecutively.

Race on for Rep. Harvin's House seat

The first name for House District 64, which was vacated by the passing of Democratic Rep. Cathy Harvin of Summerton, has emerged.

Kevin Johnson, who has served as Mayor of Manning, Clarendon County's seat, for ten years, is the first to formally announce he's running. Clarendon County Council Chair Dwight Stewart, another long-time Clarendon politico, is reportedly looking at the seat as well.

Other Democrats are reportedly looking at the seat and local Republicans have reported inquiries and may field a candidate as well.

Haley transition: So far, so good

After the events of the last year, as well as other information, the Blogland was admittedly apprehensive about the direction of the Haley administration. However, the early moves taken in the transition have been both intriguing and comforting.

Yesterday, the Governor-elect announced her senior staff picks. All of seemed pretty qualified, but three stood out as outstanding picks with the experience and ability to do great things for the incoming Governor:

  • Rob Godfrey, Press Secretary. He knows how to organize and pitch a message and knows the South Carolina media "battleground" well.
  • Ted Pitts, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Cabinet Affairs. We've gotten to know Ted a little over the last couple of years. He's got a strong work ethic, good leadership experience, and isn't afraid to reach out to people to bring them on board.
  • Trey Walker, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs and Communications. Nobody knows their way around Columbia and state politics better than this guy. Trey is a cool-headed guy who has worked in a variety of roles in both politics and policy. He know's who's who, and how to work with them.

Appointing Catherine Templeton, an attorney with a strong resume in both the public and private sector, to head up SC LLR, was another strong move. Haley cited her as someone who will promote public and occupational safety, efficiency, and advocate the state's right-to-work status. Based on her resume, we believe she is well-capable of delivering progress in these areas.

But we're not the only ones who think she's making some smart choices.

Taking aim at the I-95 speed trap in Ridgeland

Former U.S. Attorney Pete Strom stirred the smoldering fire over the I-95 speed trap in Ridgeland by posting this report and request for feedback from those who've received tickets while driving through the town's area of jurisdiction over the key East Coast freeway:

According to the Ridgeland Municipal Court Traffic Court Roster , approximately 1,950 people have been charged with a traffic violation and are scheduled to appear in traffic court on Monday, January 3, 2010. At fines ranging from $100-$300, this is an extremely profitable way to recoup funds for the Town, especially considering the fact that the majority of people stopped are traveling through South Carolina to an out of state destination and will likely pay the fine to avoid traffic court.

We would like to hear from South Carolina residents who received a Uniform Traffic Ticket from the Town of Ridgeland, as well as out of state drivers ticketed while passing through South Carolina. Please post your comments below and describe the details surrounding your traffic citation. Also, please indicate whether your driving was impaired by the flash of the light from the video camera or whether anything else distracted you.

State Senator Larry Grooms has taken an interest in this issue, as have others. We'll be talking with them and following this, so stay tuned ...

Rep. Limehouse takes on fake military vets

In "Trading Places", a favorite movie in the Blogland, Eddie Murphy portrays a down-on-his-luck con artist. When confronted by police, he claims to be a legless Vietnam vet and Green Beret: "it was real hush hush. I was Agent Orange, Special Agent Orange, that was me."

Last week, Les Agro of Summerville told a story about being a Navy SEAL who'd taken part in the 1991 liberation of Kuwait. It was a tale he's convincingly spun for at least eight years.

On Tuesday, Agro admitted he's an impostor.

Senate Democrats and the Great Mallard Massacre

According to a tweet from Senate Democratic Caucus director Phil Bailey:

Today will be known as the Great Mallard Massacre. Dec 14, 2010. Never Forget.

George Campsen, legislator and father of Sen. Chip Campsen, dies

George Campsen, Jr., the father of State Senator Chip Campsen of Mt. Pleasant, passed away this evening. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family.

Campsen was a successful businessman with a long record of community involvement. He'll be missed.

According to the Charleston Post and Courier:

Campsen, of the Isle of Palms, was perhaps best known as operator of Fort Sumter Tours, which he founded in 1961.

Born and reared in Charleston, Campsen was a 1951 graduate of The Citadel, where he was captain of the boxing team. He was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War and went to law school at the University of South Carolina.

He served three terms as a state representative from 1958 through 1964.

Campsen was widely regarded as a powerful story-teller and persuasive trial lawyer, as well as a successful businessman. He parlayed a $7,000 down payment on the first boat for Fort Sumter Tours into a thriving family-run business, which now includes SpiritLine Cruises.

His wife, Myrtle Smith Campsen, died in 2007. He is survived by four children: George E. "Chip" Campsen III, Richard Campsen, Cyndi Mosteller and Terrye Seckinger.