Poll shows Rice leading in the Seventh

The first public poll released in the Seventh Congressional District shows Horry County Republican Tom Rice holding a comfortable lead over Georgia Democrat Gloria "The Green Quitter" Tinubu. 

According to the poll conducted by Winthrop University, Rice holds nearly a thirteen point lead, leading Tinubu with 49% to Tinubu's 36%. As this district is not on the radar screen for the national parties, we suspect this poll paints a pretty accurate picture of where the race stands.

While Rice and Tinubu both scored strong run-off wins in June, Tinubu has struggled to make headway with the district's large bloc of GOP-leaning coastal voters. When you have a record of crashing colleges, alleging racism in the Olympics, opposing higher standards for education and suing airlines for losing elections because you bumped your head, voters just might not get the stuff you're shoveling.

It probably didn't help that Tinubu has aligned herself with every far-left group under the sun while running for a district with a modest GOP lean.

Maybe Tinubu thinks Seventh District voters are dumb, but apparently they're not. As such, expect Rice to roll to a comfortable win a month from now.

We're just wondering where she'll go next?

Happy Birthday to Crescent Magazine

Upstate veteran politico Taft Matney has earned a pat on the back today as his web venture - Crescent Magazine - marks its first year in business today, carrying on its mission of talking about life, culture, food and sometimes politics in the Palmetto State.

Matney, who was concerned about the state's reputation post-Appalachian Trail, started the venture as a way to share a different view of the state than what was being portrayed in the news media:

South Carolina has amazing stories to tell and amazing people to tell them. That’s why CRESCENT exists. It’s on your computer, your smart phone, and your iPad to see and hear and read about people, places, and things that you won’t find in most other places.

... and over the last year, he's done a great job telling those stories. He gets to people and places that few can reach and gives readers thoughtful and in-depth looks you won't find elsewhere, written by someone who is both a good writer and analyst and someone with a deep passion for South Carolina.

If you haven't visited the site, you should. It really is sweeter than South Carolina peaches.

E-verify mandate underway in North Carolina

Following the lead of South Carolina, which was one of the first states to pass workforce immigration compliance legislation following the Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting ruling, North Carolina is now mandating the use of E-Verify for screening all new applicants.

North Carolina will phase in compliance, based upon the size of a company's workforce, as follows:
  • Effective Oct. 1, 2012—employers with 500 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify to check work authorization for all new hires.
  • Effective Jan. 1, 2013—employers with 100 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify to check work authorization for all new hires.
  • Effective July 1, 2013—employers with 25 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify to check work authorization for all new hires.
For companies with multi-state workforces, the agency will consider just in-state employees towards the determination of the first date of enforcement.

At this time, the North Carolina legislation exempts employers with less than 25 employees as well as seasonal workers (but keep reading because federal requirements may still apply).

House 56 ballot suit ruling leaves two petition candidates on November ballot

House District 56 shown in blue
Today, a Circuit Court ruling in the lawsuit filed by State House District 56 petition candidate Dennis DiSabato against fellow petition candidate Mike Ryhal reportedly left Ryhal on the November ballot. Both DiSabato and Ryhal are seeking the Horry County House seat which was relocated from the Pee Dee in last year's redistricting. 

This ruling was the latest turn in a contest for this seat which has played out at least as much in courtrooms as it has in front of voters. Following the back-and-forth between these two is plenty confusing, so if you're trying to figure this all out, you're not alone.

It began when Mike Ryhal was removed from the ballot in the initial Supreme Court ruling which removed candidates from the ballot, leaving Dennis DiSabato as the sole GOP candidate for the seat, and then it just kept spiralling downhill with lawsuits and accusations between both campaigns.

Courson re-election bid gaining support of Richland Democratic leaders

Richland County's GOP Senator John Courson is one of the few survivors of the county's gradual transformation from a swing county to a Democratic stronghold. Holding onto a swing district, it's a goal which has repeatedly eluded Democrats, who would love to have the bragging rights of knocking off the recently-elected Senate President Pro Tempore.

In recent years, Democrats gained control of a long-time Republican-held Senate district and of the region's longest-held House seats, as well as swept out every Republican in the courthouse. While Democrats are waging a strong challenge to Courson, hoping the county's changing politics will give them a chance to knock off the county's last Republican Senator, other Democrats are breaking with their party to support Courson's re-election.

Martin leading, Rice floundering in Upstate Senate race

While some portrayed the Pickens County State Senate race between Senate Judiciary Chair Larry Martin and former State House member Rex Rice as a major battle in the making, it looks increasingly like Martin may be positioning himself for a big win next month, frustrating Rice's hopes for a political comeback. 

Polling shared with the Blogland suggests that Senate Judiciary Chair Larry Martin is well-positioned for re-election a month from now. Martin holds a sizable lead over former State Representative Rex Rice, polling almost thirty points ahead - 46% to 17%, but when Martin was named as the Republican candidate, his lead grew by ten points to 56% while Rice's support stayed about the same. 

We've seen other polling that says that Martin was polling a two-to-one lead in the primary which was cancelled by the Supreme Court ruling.

But polling numbers aren't the only big hurdle that Rice is struggling to overcome. Since entering the race, Rice has struggled to raise money, with only $750 raised in the spring and a mere $105.65 cash on hand when the most recent campaign finance reports were filed mid-summer. 

Both polls and finance reports show that Rice, who gave up his House seat in 2010 but failed to make the GOP run-off for the Third Congressional District that year, has a long way to go if he wants to score what looks like an almost impossible comeback next month.

Mark your calendar: Jim DeMint lunch in Winnsboro - Monday 10/15

Jim DeMint is coming to Winnsboro to have lunch and raise funds for the Fairfield County GOP on Monday, October 15. He'll be joining them at Honeysuckle Acres in Winnsboro 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.

Policy Council hypocritical on transparency and disclosure

Controlling and reporting money spent to influence the political process has been a long-running issue in South Carolina. Recently, it exploded over questions about how well House Speaker Bobby Harrell reported reimbursements for campaign-related expenditures from his campaign fund.

In response to the matter, Harrell met with The State and shared specifics about his expenditures. After reviewing the matter, the wrote that "(a)lthough state law does not specify how itemized the itemized expenditures have to be, it’s difficult to argue that what Mr. Harrell provided is adequate. In fact, the attorney for the State Ethics Commission said she considered his reports incomplete" but believed Harrell "likely has not misspent campaign funds".

So nobody did anything wrong, the law wasn't clear but more should have been done to comply with it anyway. That's about as clear as mud to us.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2012/09/27/2457938/editorial-harrell-expenditures.html#storylink=cpy

We discussed this issue with Harrell's staff to get their take on things. While they answered our questions and we appreciate their promises to provide more specific reporting, we hope this episode, as well as other problems which have arisen with reporting weaknesses and loopholes, will prompt legislators to tighten ethics and disclosure laws in next year's session so higher standards aren't simply an option.

The problem with making progress on the issue of transparency and full disclosure is that, like other reform efforts, some of those who bark the loudest aren't always true to their sound-bites. One of the biggest offenders on this issue is Ashley Landess, the director of the South Carolina Policy Council, who jumped into the fray by demanding “to see the documentation to have complete confidence the speaker did indeed reimburse himself for actual cost and that the travel is legitimate”.

Mark your calendar: Spartanburg Bronze Elephant, Monday 10/8

When it comes to a party, LaDonna Ryggs and the Spartanburg GOP are known for pulling out all the stops. This year's annual Bronze Elephant Dinner, being held Monday next week (October 8), looks like an event you don't want to miss.

Monday's Bronze Elephant dinner features Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and South Carolina's Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney.

Tickets include an annual membership in the county party's Bronze Elephant Club:

  • $120 per family
  • $90 per couple
  • $60 per single
  • or $500 per table sponsorship (name in the program, table of 8 and reception/photo line)

RSVP to ladonna@thepalladiangroup.comMake checks payable and send them to: Spartanburg County GOP PO Box 5475 Spartanburg, SC 29304.

Certificate of need process: Rationing health care in South Carolina

In most businesses, issues such as location, capacity and services offered are dictated by the marketplace. Businesses respond to demand by opening, expanding, moving or closing locations, as well as the mix of services and products offered by those facilities. 

By and large, this unregulated process works pretty well - but if you're a hospital in South Carolina, bureaucrats, not patients, make the decision about the availability of health care services through the state's "Certificate of Need" process. This system is used to restrict and control the ability of medical service providers to build and operate facilities throughout the state.

From where the Blogland sees it, that system may be good if you're a bureaucrat seeking job security or a hospital looking to block out potential competition, but for patients who want more options for healthcare in your community, it's a bad thing.

The latest example of how this program is used to stifle competition can be found in Berkeley County, where S.C. DHEC issued these figurative permission slips to allow two competing health care providers to build hospitals: Trident Healthcare and Roper St. Francis Healthcare.

Walton cartoon: "Obama roulette"

Social Media increasingly being used as evidence

As if we haven't seen enough written about the need to exercise caution about what is being said in social media, another word of warning comes from Allen Smith, who recently interviewed David Osterman, a New Jersey attorney specializing in labor and human resources issues for a recent story in the Society for Human Resource Management website

While this news that social media is impacting what takes place in courtrooms probably isn't surprising to many, the details of the story bear attention in the article, Smith warns readers that:

"Social media has filtered into courtrooms, transforming jury selection; questioning of witnesses; interactions between jurors, lawyers and judges; and evidence. And employment litigation has been affected ..."

In the story, Osterman details how social media is being used to do advance research for jurors and witnesses, as well as how social media commentary is qualified as evidence in the courtroom. For those who want to protect their company from legal exposure or prepare a strong defense for cases that may go to trial, this story makes for good reading.

Romney energy policies "merit a closer look".

Recently, we saw an editorial in Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine, a magazine aimed at upper-level utility management (which we happen to get as well). In an op-ed in the latest issue, Editor Michael Burr lays out a strong argument for why Romney's energy policies offer paths forward for greater energy development, as well as opening doors for innovation that will broaden our available energy options:

Just as we were going to press, the Romney-Ryan campaign released an energy plan that sets forth what purports to be a bold policy goal: to achieve North American energy independence in just eight years. That goal is interesting in its own right. But it’s even more interesting against the current backdrop of economic and policy trends affecting energy and utility companies. And make no mistake, energy policy issues are heating up again ... The November elections are set for just two months after this issue of Fortnightly hits readers’ mailboxes. Given the major energy policy issues now in play, Romney’s stated positions merit a closer look.

As South Carolina's utilities struggle with federal mandates that are forcing the closure of a number of coal plants, this agenda could help boost their ability to generate power, helping augment the supply of energy which, in better days, was a major boost to economic development recruitment efforts.

When the Blogland endorsed Romney in the primary cycle, we wrote "Mitt Romney has shown the depth of knowledge needed to make sound policy decisions, a willingness to apply logic instead of shallow rhetoric to solve problems". Seeing these kinds of assessments confirm that we made the right decision then and spell out why we stand by that endorsement going into November.

More signs of ramped-up OSHA enforcement and penalties

It seems that some of these efforts have drawn some controversy, most notably the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which kicked off two years ago, replacing the agency's Enhanced Enforcement Program with the aim of focusing enforcement efforts upon:

(H)igh-emphasis hazards, which are defined as high gravity serious violations of specific fall standards -- 23 such standards are listed in general industry, construction, shipyards, marine terminal, and longshoring -- or standards covered in National Emphasis Programs focused on amputations, combustible dusts, crystalline silica, lead, excavation/trenching, shipbreaking, and process safety management.

Mark your calendar - 5th District GOP Clay shoot and dinner candidates' benefit

This Saturday, Fifth Congressional District Republicans will be holding a clay shoot and dinner benefit for Fifth District Republican legislative candidates who are challenging Democrats, featuring Congressman Mick Mulvaney.

The benefit will be held at Rocky Creek Sporting Clays 3339 Mountain Gap Road, Richburg with a Beginners' Clinic and noon and a Shotgun start 3:00 p.m.

There will be a Beginners Clinic starting at noon with a National Sporting Clays Certified Instructor for those not shooting the course. Limited spots available (10) for this clinic, so be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot. 

You can bring your shotguns and ammo but there are a limited number of guns available to rent at Rocky Creek. Call to reserve. 

There will also be door prizes provided by event sponsors.

The problem of dependency: Maybe Romney was right

Mitt Romney's recent remarks about the growth of dependency set off a short-lived media storm, but in most polls, Romney's support barely moved and a week later, most polls showed little real change from the week of the DNC in Charlotte.

Perhaps it's because that many actually agreed with his basic premise that too many people are indeed dependent upon government assistance?

That seems to be what the findings of a poll released by Rasmussen Polling would suggest:

Americans strongly believe that there is too much government dependency in the country today. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64% of Adults think there are too many Americans dependent on the government for financial aid. Just 10% think not enough Americans are dependent on the government, while 16% say the level of dependency is about right.

These concerns by Romney and poll respondents are being voiced during a time of unprecedented growth of social programs and their cost to taxpayers, as well as a continued inability of the federal government to rein in spending and balance its budget.