In her first-ever bid for political office last summer, Myrtle Beach newcomer Mande Wilkes came within 400 votes of knocking off an incumbent state lawmaker. Rather than challenging S.C. Rep. Nelson Hardwick again, however, she’s setting her sights higher in 2012 … on the U.S. Congress.
On Wednesday, Wilkes announced on her Facebook page that she was forming a Congressional exploratory committee to look at a possible bid for the state’s yet-to-be-drawn seventh congressional district.
“Emboldened and encouraged by the grassroots conservative activism that’s swept South Carolina, I’ve established a Congressional exploratory committee to examine my potential candidacy for U.S. Congress representing the emergent Seventh Congressional District,” Wilkes said in a statement. “The United States is at a crucial crossroads, and the people of South Carolina deserve and demand representatives who will work to preserve America’s legacy of liberty.”
On the one hand, we’re a little bit disappointed by this news. Hardwick is a RINO of the first order and Wilkes ran a surprisingly strong race against him. With the positive name identification that she built up for herself in the district (and Hardwick’s continued allegiance to fiscally liberal House Speaker Bobby Harrell), we think she could take him out in 2012.
Also, Hardwick is one of several Horry County lawmakers caught up in the “Coastal Kickback” – a massive campaign finance scandal that is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation. His proximity to this brewing disaster makes him even more vulnerable …
Of course to Wilkes’ credit, she’s obviously not ignorant of the fact that the top two “GOP” contenders in the seventh district congressional race (a.k.a. these guys) also have their fingers stuck in that scandalous pie.
Which makes them every bit as vulnerable as Hardwick …
A former FITS columnist, Wilkes would provide a refreshingly-candid pro-taxpayer voice in Washington, D.C. She’s smart, substantive and singularly unconnected to any of the political establishments that have been holding this state back.
She would represent the people, in other words – not the political elite.