S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) and former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge William W. “Billy” Wilkins of Greenville, S.C. are in various stages of exploring gubernatorial runs in 2014.

According to our sources Harrell, 56, has been putting out feelers for the last month – although he has not committed to run.  Wilkins on the other hand has reportedly met with two of the state’s top political consultants – Warren Tompkins and Richard Quinn – and is “talking to some fo the big businesses (in South Carolina) about potential support.”

A fiscal liberal with notoriously thin skin, Harrell’s name was floated as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2010 but he declined to run (fortunately).  As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee from 1999-2005 and Speaker for the last seven years, Harrell is one of the South Carolina politicians most responsible for the “Lost Decade” – the Palmetto State’s most recent failed experiment in big government.

Billy Wilkins

Wilkins, 67, is the brother of former S.C. House Speaker and U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins.  He is an attorney with Nexsen Pruet, one of the state’s most powerful special interest centers.  He was also one of the lead negotiators in the $900 million deal that brought Boeing to North Charleston, S.C.

Is that a good thing?  Right now the jury is still out …

Obviously we expect there to be a flood of status quo candidates like Harrell and Wilkins jumping into this race – whether S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley runs again or not.

Fortunately there is no shortage of fiscally conservative, reform-minded candidates who are also contemplating gubernatorial bids.  Among them? S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, State Treasurer Curtis Loftis and U.S. Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Tim Scott.