Barring a miracle, when the South Carolina Senate reconvenes in January 2013 its so-called “Republican” majority will have shifted ever-so-slightly to the left (quite a feat when you consider its leadership is already slightly to the left of Chairman Mao).

How did this happen? Isn’t South Carolina “rock solid conservative?” The “reddest state in America?” Home to a vibrant “Tea Party” movement?

Ummmm … not so much. Not even a little bit.

Yet faced with soaring state spending and shrinking personal income levels (thanks in large part to the State Senate), fiscal conservatives failed to mount anything resembling credible challenges to numerous fiscally liberal Senators – most notably former Democratic trial lawyer Luke Rankin. In fact, not only did Rankin and numerous other RINOs get a hall pass – but status quo supporters actually knocked off a fiscal conservative, Lowcountry Senator Mike Rose (R-Dorchester) in the recent primary elections.

Reform is moving in reverse, in other words …

“I won’t stop until we get a conservative House, a conservative Senate and a conservative governor,” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley boldly proclaimed during her bid to capture the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2010.

Well, after winning the governor’s office Haley not only stopped … she started moving in reverse. In fact Haley wound up cutting deals with the incumbent establishment and approving record spending increases. Hell … she has special interests writing her reform bills. As a result, everybody associated with the “movement” she once led got whiplash … and promptly got off the ride.

Anyway, speaking of special interests/ former Democrats/ trial lawyers/ status quo supporters, this unholy nexus of “good ol’ boy-ness” is receiving new expression in the candidacy of Wade Kolb – a personal injury lawyer from Sumter, S.C. who is seeking the GOP nomination for the State Senate seat being vacated by Phil Leventis (D-Sumter).

Kolb’s opponent in next week’s GOP runoff? Businessman Tony Barwick, who in recent days has received the stamp of approval from several limited government advocates.

Hmmmm … that’s interesting.

In advance of offering up our endorsements for the 2012 primaries (a.k.a. the “Lost Cycle“), we made several calls inquiring as to the status of this and whether there were any candidates deserving of an “atta boy.” At the time, none of our “limited government” peeps indicated a preference in this Sumter race.

Over the last few days, however, this utterly meaningless race has attracted the attention of Palmetto politicos in a big way – with our phone literally ringing off the hook with reports of endorsements, intrigues and related “news” fodder.

Seriously … don’t these people realize that this race is totally irrelevant?

Most of the chatter revolves around mailings that have been sent by a secretive group called the “SC Conservative Reform Council.”

Take a look …

(Click to enlarge)

So … who is the “SC Conservative Reform Council?”

As far as we can tell the group doesn’t exist, at least not according to the S.C. Secretary of State’s office or the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) – although it has been active in other legislative races on behalf of trial lawyer candidates (including this guy).

According to our sources, the group is nothing but a front organization dedicated to funneling liberal trial lawyer money into competitive State House races … which is ironic considering one of its mailings rails against there being “too much corruption” in state government.

Oh well … we’ll play along and support Barwick because he appears to be more likely than Kolb to support the fiscal ideals we hold dear. Having said that, we would remind our readers that the outcome of this race will do absolutely nothing to redeem what amounts to a totally irredeemable election cycle – a seismic victory for our state’s failed status quo.