LEGAL TROUBLES AREN’T THE SPEAKER’S ONLY PROBLEM …
Before suspended S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell can fight his legal battles, he must fight – and win – a political battle to hang onto his seat in the S.C. House of Representatives.
Prior to his indictment on corruption charges earlier this month, Harrell seemed likely to do just that … enjoying a 20-point lead over Democrat Mary Tinkler in the race for S.C. House District 114.
Since Harrell’s indictment? Sources tell FITS the race has narrowed to single digits … with one recent poll reportedly putting the gap within the margin of error.
Harrell’s camp isn’t buying the narrative of a tightening race …
“That’s ridiculous,” a source close to the embattled Speaker told FITS. “The folks in Charleston love him.”
Analysts say Harrell will benefit from a wave of straight ticket GOP support – not unlike the one that carried S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to victory four years ago.
But will it be enough?
We’ll have to wait and see …
If Harrell is able to hold off Tinkler’s challenge, he would likely begin the 2015-16 legislative session still on suspension. Also, lawmakers will vote on their new leaders – including Speaker – during an organizational session following the 2014 elections on November 4. If that vote were held today, sources tell FITS interim Speaker of the House Jay Lucas would win the seat.