Upstate petition candidates struggling at fundraising

Across the Upstate region of South Carolina, from Oconee to Lancaster County, a series of petition candidacies are being waged for legislative seats in the November general elections, but many of them could face serious challenges getting their campaigns into high gear.

A review of campaign finance disclosures filed over the summer caution that many of them will be hard-pressed to fund viable candidacies, giving most major party candidates strong advantages as the fall campaign season kicks off. Candidates who enter the fall with good campaign warchests can begin the fall campaign season spending more of their time upon campaigning and reaching voters than those candidates who are still working on raising funds for their campaign.

Of the twelve races with petition candidates, the mid-July reports showed ten GOP candidates reported a total of $434,469,76 cash on hand (reports for an 11th Republican candidate were not found), three Democratic candidates with $81,209.25 (reports for an 4th Democratic candidate were not found) and twelve petition candidates with just 47,952.67.

Charleston School Board RINOs: Still spending

This year, she's still at it - with the largest personal expenditures ($4,871) for any member of the county's school board over the last year ($23,060). Moffly's expenditures, which accounted for over 21% of the  by board members, were followed by Elizabeth Kandrac ($4,201), a former teacher who had joined Moffly in supporting a 2400% pay raise last year.

While Kandrac will be leaving the board this year, having opted not to seek re-election, Charleston County voters are stuck with at least two more years of Moffly.

Lights in the darkness

While attending the GOP convention in Tampa last week was one of the biggest highlights in years of politics, tragedy occurred close to home when I learned a daughter of a close friend and a friend of hers were found murdered in the Francis Marion National Forest near Moncks Corner.

I had known Dana since elementary school and had seen her grow up, starting college and putting her adult life together. It was hard to imagine who'd want to do this, much less who would take the effort to leave their bodies about ten miles apart from each other and torch her car, and it was difficult to see her family having to endure what my family went through two years ago when my brother was killed.

Having seen what my family went through when my brother was killed two years ago (the other driver is still awaiting trial on charges of vehicular homicide), I could understand at least some of what they were going through.

When I attended the visitation and funeral after returning from the convention, I was amazed at the outpouring of support from the community. While there was apprehension at the knowledge the killers were on the loose and anger at the cruelty of the crimes, those who attended the funeral and helped with fundraisers were driven more by a concern to help.

Thanks also goes to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, led by Sheriff Wayne DeWitt, along with SLED and the FBI, for their swift and aggressive response to track down suspects. 

The concern of the people of the Lowcountry and local, state and federal law enforcement were much-needed lights in a time of darkness for two families and they're certainly appreciated.

Blogland readers will be kept updated upon developments in this case, as well as information about how they can help the families of Dana Woods and June Guerry.

Connor: "Obama cynically targeting values"

This guest editorial is 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. This op-ed was also published in the Orangeburg Times and Democrat.

With the many problems facing the U.S. economy, particularly the 8.3 percent unemployment rate, the upcoming presidential election would normally be “in the bag” for the challenger. With that reality, the Obama administration has made huge efforts to deflect attention from the economy.

What Americans have seen over the past few months has been a desperate attempt to generate the “perception” of a Republican war on women and even a war on the elderly (in addition to the vicious attempts to destroy Mitt Romney’s reputation). All with the mission of diverting attention from the economy. The despicable aspect to this strategy comes with the attacks against Christians done for diversionary purposes.

Guest Op-ed: Olson - "Policy Council’s all-or-nothing approach gets you nothing"

I got involved in politics at the grassroots level because I was upset at the direction both parties were taking our country and our state, and I felt the need to speak out. I didn’t get involved to make friends, and I will probably lose the rest I have left in the grassroots, but I need to say something.

I agree with most of the S.C. Policy Council’s policies, but the group’s all-or-nothing approach does a disservice to the very reforms it is proposing. A prime example is the campaign to eliminate the Budget and Control Board.

The Senate passed a bill this year to eliminate the board, which steals power from the governor, and give most of its duties to a new Department of Administration, controlled by the governor. It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a step in the right direction, and it was something we could improve on in future years. It was supported by Gov. Nikki Haley, the S.C. Club for Growth, Sen. Tom Davis (considered by many to be the tea party senator) and many other conservative organizations.

But then the talking points from the Policy Council started making their way through the grassroots organizations. The council said the bill created too many new agencies, that it was akin to changing the deck chairs as the Titanic was sinking. At its insistence, the House got rid of some of those new agencies, and gave more power to the governor, and the Policy Council told us to call our legislators and demand no compromise on the House version.

Fun in Tampa

Columbia College CR delegation
The Blogland had an opportunity of a lifetime - to attend the GOP convention in Tampa - and had a blast.

Aside from playing taxi for various politicos, the Blogland got a ringside seat on the action - and what a show it was.

While it was great to watch the speeches from a lot of well-known and rising-star Republicans from across the country, laugh with Clint Eastwood's now-famous conversation with a chair, and meet Republicans from across the country, one of the most fun groups we met was some of the members from the Columbia College chapter of College Republicans, who were here, there and everywhere during the week of the convention.

Happy Birthday Jim DeMint!

Today is Senator Jim DeMint's birthday and we're told that yesterday was his wedding anniversary.

From the Blogland to Jim DeMint, we just wanted to say:


Stalking and violence - legal for labor unions

It's well-known that labor disputes can result in violence against persons and property in workplaces in the United States. But what isn't as well known is that in some cases, the courts and the laws are giving labor unions license to harm and harass companies and workers, according to a report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Workforce Freedom Initiative.

Entitled "Sabotage, Stalking and Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions", the report looks at how both courts and some states have turned a blind eye to threatening and dangerous behaviors, going against the growing concerns over combating violence and threatening behaviors in the American workplace.

The report begins by tracing the history of state exemptions to a 1973 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court (United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396) which held that ruled that violence in pursuit of union demands cannot be prosecuted under federal law, arguing that violent activities, when used during a strike by workers of the Gulf States Utilities Company, did not meet the standard of "wrongful" conduct needed to convict in a federal extortion case. From there, a number of states are called out for giving unions a pass on threatening and violent conduct in workplaces.

Happy Birthday to Congressman Trey Gowdy

Best Blogland birthday wishes to Upstate Congressman Trey Gowdy, who is wrapping up his first term in Congress.

If you know him, be sure to tell him to enjoy his birthday - and to take Monday off to enjoy life a little!

Walton cartoon - "Biden goofs"

What a school board member "learned"

Earlier today, Charleston County School Board member Toya Hampton Green, who had already decided not to seek another term, abruptly quit her seat with two months remaining on the board.

Reason: she took a job with the state association of school boards, as "director of policy and legal services", and "suddenly" had to get her kids off to school at their new Columbia address.

Translated: Green had hoped to work as a lobbyist while holding a school board seat in Charleston County, but either had second thoughts about the conflict of interest or someone got wind of what she was trying to pull. But we're sure she'd just say she "forgot" to resign before accepting the job offer and moving.

In her resignation letter, she thanked Chris Fraser, the board Chair, and Nancy McGinley, the Superintendent for what she "learned". We're guessing that among the things she "learned" was how to try to illegally hold onto an elected office and use public office to allow oneself to build a career at taxpayers' expense. But Charleston County's school board is well-known for games and self-enrichment, so Green's move, while disappointing, is nothing new.

Industrial real estate broker Todd Garrett, 36, and self-employed painter Tony Lewis, 50, both plan to run as write-in candidates for the seat, as no candidate was able to gather enough petition signatures to qualify. Republicans are backing Garrett for the full term as well as for an appointment to fill the seat for the remainder of Green's term.

Defeated Lowcountry incumbents lose in SEI rulings

Charleston County Auditor Peggy Moseley and Summerville State Senator Mike Rose, both of whom lost re-election primaries in June, didn't seem to fare any better with the courts today.

The Charleston Post and Courier reported that earlier today, Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson ruled that Moseley's opponent, Mt. Pleasant town councilman Paul Gawrych, had filed his SEI paperwork properly, leaving him on the November general election ballot. The Post and Courier also blasted Moseley in an editorial today:

You’ve got to give it to Charleston County Auditor Peggy Moseley — she’s got moxie. Or maybe you’d prefer gall. 
Despite losing badly in the Republican primary two months ago, the 78-year-old auditor is going the court route in an effort to retain the position she has held since 1992.
So much for the will of the people.

Also, the Summerville Patch reported that while the State Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Senator Rose, it won't take place until after today's certification of candidates by the state Election Commission.

Unlike past rulings, which kept candidates off the ballot before the primaries, ruling in favor of the incumbents would require the courts to overlook the lopsided margins of defeat in both races, with Moseley getting just 31 percent and Rose 40 percent.

Walton Cartoon - "Reid's Money"

Heisting Timmonsville: Everyone does it

When burglars broke into the Timmonsville Town Hall and raided the mayor's office and the now-defunct police department, taking records and weapons, they weren't the only ones using Town Hall to pull heists. They were just the ones who were smart enough to hide their identities during the act. These moments are just part of the ongoing circus that is the town of Timmonsville, which recently fired most of its employees, including the police department.

Last week, in a late-night break-in, thieves hit Town Hall, taking court records, cash, weapons and raided the town's evidence safe. According to local news media, the masked bandits, who were caught on video, remain at large.

Earlier in the week, the town got news of another raid conducted upon the town. This one was done from the inside, revealed when a financial auditor informed Timmonsville's council and Mayor that an audit couldn't be conducted because the town had no financial records to audit.

Charping, who was hired earlier this year to advise the debt plagued town on how to get its financial house in order, told town council members Tuesday that while Timmonsville has checks and receipts from throughout the year, there was never any formal record keeping to satisfy the needs of an audit.

“You have to understand that no auditor can audit something that doesn’t exist,” Charping told council.  
As a result, the auditing firm, selected in April to conduct the town’s annual financial review, has withdrawn from the project entirely last week, saying it would be too much work to conduct an audit without the proper accounting information.

However the auditor did inform the town of a previously-hidden account holding town money, listed as the "Lori Anderson Charitable Trust" and could only be accessed by the town's former treasurer, Dora Lee, who had been dismissed in a recent mass-firing.

It was explained that in past years, information for the audits was put together just in time to conduct the annual audits which are required by state law. However, those past audits missed the Lori Anderson account.

Given the numerous problems faced by the town, it seems hard to believe there won't be more problems surfacing in the not-too-distant future. We'll be watching ...

Rock the Red event to counter Dem convention

While holding the Democratic convention in Charlotte might once have seemed a good idea, it is increasingly viewed as the last stand of Democrats in the Deep South before a Romney-Ryan sweep in November. From the looks of it, they'll even be fighting to keep the media spotlight during their convention week.

ROCK THE RED - an all-star line-up of country music stars and Carolinas GOP politicos - will be gathering just several miles away from the Democratic convention to contest the political narrative being wielded by Democrats. Featuring the likes of Charlie Daniels and Travis Tritt, along with S.C. politico such as Alan Wilson and Mick Mulvaney, the event is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, September 5.

Tickets are available online, with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $99. If you like to mix your politics with country music, you might want to check this event out.

Senate ballot rulings: Barwick ok, Thurmond off (maybe)

Earlier this evening in Charleston, state Circuit Judge Ernest Kinard ruled on two lawsuits regarding the ballot status for two GOP state Senate candidates, leaving Tony Barwick, a Sumter Republican who won a June GOP run-off in Senate District 35, on the ballot and removing Paul Thurmond, a Charleston Republican seeking Senate District 41.

While Thurmond was knocked off the ballot, the court ruled that Republicans could re-open filing and conduct another primary to select a nominee. 

This ruling came just after news after two other Republicans who were seeking to run for the Senate District 41 seat as petition candidates - Walter Hundley who won a recent special election to fill the seat, as well as Wally Burbage who lost the special GOP primary for that seat - failed to qualify as petition candidates.

Rulings in several other races are expected soon.

Reportedly Democrats will appeal today's Senate candidacy rulings.