In a thoroughly unsurprising announcement, S.C. Rep. Thad Viers became the first politician to formally declare himself a candidate for South Carolina’s newly-created seventh congressional district on Thursday.
Wait … already?
Seriously … the U.S. Justice Department hasn’t even signed off on this district’s boundaries and we’ve already got ourselves a candidate.
S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons (RINO-Myrtle Beach) and local Tea Party favorite Mande Wilkes are also expected to announce their campaigns soon (Wilkes has already formed an exploratory committee), and we’ve heard rumors that several other local politicians are contemplating bids as well.
“The Pee Dee deserves a principled conservative leader who will go to Washington focused on the next generation and not the next election,” Viers said in a statement. “I would have proudly stood with South Carolina’s conservative congressional delegation in opposing an increase in the national debt ceiling. We have to stop Washington’s reckless spending spree if we’re ever going to get our economy back on track.”
Viers has amassed a decent enough voting record as a member of the S.C. House (certainly his record on fiscal issues is much better than Clemmons) but there are serious concerns about his judgment.
In June 2007, he pleaded no contest to harassing the boyfriend (and future husband) of his ex-wife – paying a $500 fine. We expect that the audio recordings from that case – in which Viers reportedly threatened to “skullf*ck” the man’s parents – will find their way into the narrative of this race.
Also, Viers has been accused of having a romantic rendezvous with S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley at a 2006 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) event in San Franciso, California. Both were married state lawmakers at the time. Viers provided FITS with a “non-denial denial” of the allegations through a third party. He also threatened to sue our founding editor if FITS ever wrote another word about the alleged affair – but he has failed to follow through on that threat.
Obviously we would welcome Viers lawsuit …
More recently, Viers referred to Clemmons – his soon-to-be opponent for in the GOP primary for this seat – as a “liberal ass clown,” although it’s certainly hard to argue with that characterization (Viers also called Clemmons a “fluffer” for liberal S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, echoing a previous criticism leveled by this website).
Finally, both Viers and Clemmons were among the “Republican” elected officials who received suspicious bundled contributions in the infamous “Coastal Kickback.” This pay-to-play scandal – which is currently being investigated by the FBI and the IRS – could prove particularly damaging to both of these candidates.