S.C. Ways and Means Chairman Danny Cooper (RINO-Anderson) is stepping down from his post at the end of the current legislative session – but the early horse-trading at the S.C. State House has yet to produce a consensus as to who his replacement will be.
In fact the battle between S.C. Majority Leader Kenny Bingham (RINO-Lexington) and House Ways and Means vice-chairman Brian White (RINO-Anderson) is shaping up to be a real barn-burner.
Sources tell FITS that White may have as many as eight solid GOP commitments, while Bingham is supported by only four GOP lawmakers. Meanwhile the Democrats on the committee are refusing to reveal who they might support – preferring to let the Republicans bloody each other up a bit first.
Solidly in White’s camp at the moment (in addition to himself) are S.C. Reps. Rita Allison, Liston Barfield, Dwight Loftis, Mike Pitts, B.R. Skelton and Roland Smith. Oh, and Cooper.
Solidly in Bingham’s camp (in addition to himself) are S.C. Reps. Chip Huggins, Jimmy Merrill and David Umphlett.
Several other lawmakers – including Reps. Tracy Edge and Chip Limehouse – are presumed to be supporting Bingham but have yet to formally commit to him. Meanwhile, three would-be Bingham allies – Reps. Bill Herbkersman, Gary Simrill and Murrell Smith – are said to be weighing their options.
If Bingham can land those five lawmakers, he would be in the driver’s seat – at least before the Democrats play their hand.
As for other “wild cards,” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley hasn’t gotten involved in the race but is said to be privately supporting Bingham. Meanwhile House Speaker Bobby Harrell is supporting White – much to the chagrin of Bingham. In fact, Harrell is said to have denoted Edge (who would have represented a more fiscally conservative alternative) in an effort to pave the way for White.
The race has gotten testy in recent days. Sources are flooding FITS with all sorts of rumors regarding the various promises that Bingham and White are allegedly making to committee members in an effort to court their votes. Needless to say, the “favor factory” appears to be working overtime …
Sadly, this is a race where there is no clear cut “conservative” choice. Both Bingham and White are RINOs, and neither offers anything resembling the sort of fiscally conservative leadership that South Carolin needs at the helm of this key budget-writing committee.
Taxpayers need … and deserve … what Haley promised them during her 2010 election, “a more conservative House.”
We’re clearly years away from getting that, though …