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larry grooms

State Senator Larry Grooms has decided to drop out of the race for governor of South Carolina, sources close to the Lowcountry Republican politician tell FITS.

His departure means the GOP field is now down to four candidates – S.C. Lieutenant Gov. Andre Bauer, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster and State Rep. Nikki Haley.

Despite having one of the more fiscally conservative voting records of the five “Republicans” in the race, Grooms’ candidacy never really picked up any momentum.  He was dogged by money problems from the beginning as well as a lingering perception that he wasn’t running to win as much as he was running to peel votes away from other candidates – specifically, fellow fiscal conservative Nikki Haley.

Grooms has purchased a domain name for a First District U.S. Congressional bid, although we’re hearing it’s unlikely that he will enter that contest, either.  In fact, we’re hearing that Grooms will endorse former S.C. Majority Leader Jimmy Merrill in the First District race, which has drawn dozens of prospective candidates since U.S. Rep. Henry Brown’s retirement announcement a week ago.

Five democrats are currently running for governor – State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex, liberal lobbyist Dwight Drake, Charleston attorney Mullins McLeod and State Senators Robert Ford and Vincent Sheheen.