SHARE

S.C. HOUSE SPEAKER WORKING HARD FOR CHIEF JUSTICE … 

If powerful S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) goes down this year in connection with an ongoing corruption case, it won’t be before he wields his considerable influence one last time …

We’re referring, of course, to next month’s legislative election for chief justice of the S.C. Supreme Court – in which Harrell is backing incumbent Jean Toal over her challenger, associate justice Costa Pleicones.

We’ve weighed in on this race previously … and would like to reiterate we do not care who emerges victorious. Not one bit. Both Toal and Pleicones are left-of-center geriatrics, and the whole race revolves around a petty grudge – not genuine ideological differences.

The only pro-free market, pro-taxpayer vote here is to “abstain” – followed by a vote to do away with the corrupt practice of letting ethically challenged lawmakers elect judges in the Palmetto State.

But that’s not going to happen …

Lawmakers are trading horses left and right … exacting promises (usually paid for with tax dollars) from those legislative leaders who have a stake in the outcome of the election.

Like Harrell …

According to our sources, the embattled Speaker has gone “all in” on Toal’s behalf. Ordinarily that would guarantee her a victory – seeing as Pleicones is trailing Toal badly in the S.C. Senate.

But with Harrell weakened by scandal, pro-Pleicones lawmakers – led by Sen. Greg Hembree and Reps. Greg Delleney, Tommy Pope and Todd Rutherford – have found many of their colleagues surprisingly receptive to the notion of defying the Speaker.

They’ve got a compelling arrow in their quiver, too … namely a taxpayer-funded clerkship secured by Toal for Harrell’s son.

“It was with a retired judge,” one pro-Pleicones lawmaker says of the clerkship given to Trey Harrell. “Find out how many other retired judges in South Carolina have law clerks, won’t you?”

We did … there were none.

Of course the race between Toal and Pleicones isn’t really a referendum on Harrell’s power. There are far too many special interests jumping into the fray for far too many reasons – including the powerful S.C. Manufacturers’ Alliance (which is backing Toal) and a network of influential solicitors (who are supporting Pleicones).

So who’s going to win?

“In the final analysis (Toal) has more power to get big business behind her and move Republicans to her side,” one veteran State House observer tells FITS. “Everyone thought it was a done deal for her and no one had made calls. They are on the phone this weekend and will be until she wins.”

Pic: Travis Bell Photography