A Lowcountry Seventh?
Conventional wisdom among South Carolina politicos is that the soon-to-be created seventh congressional district will include the fast-growing GOP stronghold of Horry county. In fact, there are at least three Horry county candidates who have made it abundantly clear that they want to run for this seat – including S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons (RINO-Myrtle Beach), Thad Viers (R-Myrtle Beach) and Mande Wilkes, a fiscal conservative and favorite of coastal Tea Partiers.
But is that what’s going to happen?
Obviously, an Horry-based district is what “Republicans” in the S.C. House have proposed … in fact, Clemmons himself chaired the House committee that drew the map. However, a new map drawn by Senate “Republicans” would flip the script on what (one way or the other) will become the first new congressional district to be created in South Carolina in eight decades.
According to the official mouthpiece of the S.C. Senate Republican Caucus, Senate Republicans are looking at a seventh congressional district that is built around another fast-growing GOP stronghold – Beaufort County.
Here’s what that map looks like …
After lawmakers hammer out a deal on the new district lines, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley will also get a chance to weigh in. Then, thanks to the Palmetto state’s less-than-stellar history of enfranchising African-Americans, the U.S. Justice Department must “pre-clear” all of these new boundaries as conforming with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
We honestly haven’t given this issue much thought, although we can say that the top candidate for a Beaufort-centered district – State Senator Tom Davis – would be an infinitely preferable choice for taxpayers than either Clemmons or Viers.
In fact, having him in Washington, D.C. with the likes of Jeff Duncan, Mick Mulvaney and Tim Scott strikes us as the best-case scenario for this redistricting process.
Up to now, Davis has been touted as a likely challenger to liberal U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in 2014 – although he might reconsider such a bid if a Beaufort-centered U.S. House district were to open up.