Just call them “Peaches and Herb,” because S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom (a.k.a. “Comptroller Creepy“) and his on-again, off-again lover Kelly Payne are “reunited … and it feels so good.”
In fact these irrepressible lovebirds are … wait for it … engaged. According to a photo album Payne’s Facebook page, Eckstrom proposed to her on December 19, two months after their most recent spat.
Here’s the ring …
(Click to enlarge)
Payne and Eckstrom’s wedding is set for April 2 … assuming the two make it that long without breaking up (or one of them killing the other).
Palmetto politicos have followed this toxic relationship with a mixture of bemusement and revulsion in recent years as the drama it has produced has spilled over onto the state’s political blogs (and occasionally its mainstream media outlets, too).
For example Eckstrom’s creepy texts and emails to Payne have become the stuff of S.C. political legend – and not in a good way. In one of those texts, Eckstrom – who was taken to the cleaners by his estranged wife last fall – referred to himself as a “fine specimen.” In another, he offered himself up to be Payne’s sexual “guinea pig.”
After a high-profile split during the 2010 GOP primary season, Payne and Eckstrom got back together prior to the general election. Of course within weeks of reuniting they became embroiled in yet another public soap opera – this one ending with Payne filing a police report against Eckstrom.
Eckstrom’s combative relationship with Payne was the subject of a Democratic TV ad during the 2010 campaign … as was a 1997 sexual harassment case that the Comptroller settled with $57,000 of your tax dollars (here are a pair of pictures of the woman that Eckstrom allegedly harassed, in case you’re interested).
In addition to his affair with Payne, multiple sources tell FITS that the 64-year-old politician has bragged about having affairs with a statewide elected official in Oklahoma as one of his subordinates in the Comptroller General’s office.
Despite all of this, Eckstrom was not only reelected Comptroller in November 2010 – but was placed in command of the South Carolina State Guard last spring.
So … will Payne and Eckstrom’s marriage last?
Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …