Assuming it is called into session, the S.C. House of Representatives would have no trouble reaching the two-thirds majority necessary to impeach embattled Gov. Mark Sanford, multiple lawmakers have told FITS.
The only question? Whether or not S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell will ever let that happen.
“If all the Dems are voting to impeach, we(‘ve) got over 100 right now,” said one GOP lawmaker who attended this weekend’s contentious Caucus retreat in Myrtle Beach, S.C, at which not a single Republican spoke in the governor’s defense.
That assessment was echoed by two of the lawmakers’ Republican colleagues, both of whom also attended the retreat. Clearly, that’s more than enough pro-impeachment votes to suspend Sanford from office and send charges against him to the State Senate, which would then vote to either reinstate him or remove him from office.
Here’s the math …
The House would need 83 votes to impeach Sanford – meaning that at least 32 Republicans would have to join 51 Democrats. In the Senate, 31 votes would then be needed to remove the governor from office, a figure that most observers agree is a “done deal” given the intense hatred for the governor that has long existed in that chamber.
Add it up, and it would certainly appear that the governor’s days are numbered.
Speaker Harrell, however, is giving the governor a stay of political execution by refusing to go along with what appears to be the overwhelming majority of his Caucus.
In fact, Harrell refused to even permit House Republicans to circulate a letter (Round Robin-style) calling on the governor to step down, fueling even more speculation about his motivations for slamming the brakes on impeachment. Lawmakers are now openly speculating as to “what Sanford has” on Harrell, with that speculation beginning to make its way back to us.
The one Harrell backer we spoke with said that the Speaker was simply “keeping his options open” and that doing so would “enhance is negotiating power” in the weeks and months to come.
Stay tuned …