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Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin is planning to campaign for governor of the Palmetto State against “Republican” incumbent Nikki Haley in 2014, sources familiar with his thinking tell FITS.

In fact Benjamin – who has been crisscrossing the state in recent weeks – is reportedly planning to file for the top statewide office in March 2014 after he wins reelection as mayor of South Carolina’s capital city in November (a race in which he is not expected to encounter serious opposition). No word yet on whether Benjamin’s statewide ambitions mean shifting salary responsibility for his political advisors Mike Wukela and Sam Davis off of the taxpayers’ backs, though.

So … does Benjamin have a shot at becoming South Carolina’s next governor?

Yes … which is too bad, because aside from Haley we can’t think of another Palmetto politician who is this duplicitous.

Like Haley, Benjamin campaigned on transparency in government … yet like Haley he also abandoned the issue well before taking his oath of office. Also Benjamin is – like Haley – a command economist who believes in purchasing jobs with tax dollars as opposed to creating them via a friendly business climate.

But Benjamin’s proximity to a shady pro-gambling cabal as well as the supporters of a rigged tax hike election make him far more dangerous than Haley. Then there’s the way he celebrates his electoral victories …

Frankly, we could not think of a worse choice for the citizens of this state than Haley v. Benjamin.

For months, the conventional wisdom has been that S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) would run against Haley in 2014. Sheheen nearly pulled off an improbably upset over Haley in 2010 – the mother of all Republican “wave” elections – and recent polling showed him narrowly ahead of Haley in a hypothetical general election matchup.

However in recent weeks Haley and Sheheen have been cooperating on various pieces of legislation … including a watered down version of government restructuring.

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