S.C. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) – the most prominent fiscal conservative in the Palmetto state – said this week that he would not run for a seventh U.S. congressional district in the event such a district is created in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Davis has been an aggressive supporter of a Lowcountry-based congressional district – prompting many to speculate that he harbored ambitions of filling this seat in the U.S. Congress.
He doesn’t – telling FITS on Friday that his sole focus is “getting the best plan for the state.”
Obviously, that statesmanlike objective stands in stark contrast to the naked ambition of S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons (RINO-Myrtle Beach) and S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) – both of whom are aggressively pushing for the creation of congressional districts that they believe would suit their 2012 electoral ends. In fact, Clemmons drew the S.C. House of Representatives map specifically so that he could campaign in a moderate congressional district anchored in Horry County. Meanwhile Grooms is the one who proposed the Lowcountry district – which was adopted by a divided Senate earlier this week.
A third plan would center the new seventh district in Florence county – in the Pee Dee region of the state.
The decennial process of drawing new district lines based on updated Census data appears to be at a stalemate – which could result in South Carolina’s new congressional districts being drawn by a panel of federal judges. Should that ultimately happen, it’s likely that two “majority-minority” districts would be created – effectively giving Democrats in Washington an additional seat.
One more critical vote on the proposals will be held in late July, and if a compromise can’t be reached at that point then the feds will likely impose a deadline on state lawmakers to come up with a compromise.
Tensions over redistricting have been running hot – with lawmakers engaging in shouting matches at the State House and politicos across the state dialing up the rhetoric.
Specifically, Republicans who voted for the Lowcountry plan have been tarred and feathered by their “GOP” counterparts in the Pee Dee and along the Grand Strand in recent days. One GOP activist from Florence, S.C. referred to Davis and other Republican Senators as “traitors.” Meanwhile, Clemmons and his corrupt establishment allies in Myrtle Beach have sought to brand the Lowcountry proposal as a “Democratic plan.”
According to the “Horry spin,” any lawmaker who doesn’t vote for the Clemmons plan is in effect delivering a victory for Democrats – logic which obviously omits the fact that the same could be said of any lawmaker who doesn’t vote for the Lowcountry plan. Neither side is willing to compromise, it appears.
Finally, it’s worth noting that any changes to South Carolina’s map must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department given our state’s less-than-stellar history of allowing minorities to vote. This means that whatever plan state lawmakers agree to (assuming they agree to one) must be signed off on by lawyers for U.S. President Barack Obama.
Frankly, we don’t see any way that the Lowcountry wins this fight – which is sad because if you look at where our state’s population centers are located, the Lowcountry plan is clearly the one that best represents the state’s voters. There are just too many monied interests backing the Clemmons plan, and eventually we suspect that those interests will twist a sufficient number of arms to get the plan pushed through.