THIRD DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN CONSIDERING STATEWIDE CAMPAIGN
|| By FITSNEWS || Remember the last time a congressman ran for governor of South Carolina? Yeah … it didn’t work out so well.
Former third district congressman Gresham Barrett could have been a contender, but his sellout vote in support of former president George W. Bush‘s Wall Street bailout – and rumblings of other issues – doomed his candidacy.
Now Jeff Duncan – the auctioneer/ real estate broker who replaced Barrett in 2011 – is eyeing a gubernatorial bid, sources familiar with his thinking tell FITS. Duncan would make a formidable candidate, should he choose to run. An ardent fiscal and social conservative, his voting record is impeccable. In fact he was the only member of South Carolina’s so-called “conservative” GOP delegation to oppose the reelection of liberal U.S. Speaker John Boehner earlier this year – and he is the only member of the delegation (so far) to come out against a crony capitalist trade deal being pushed by the administration of Barack Obama.
In other words, it doesn’t seem as though Duncan will be having a “Barrett moment” anytime soon …
Duncan is also politically savvy, playing up his “Kingmaker” role in the 2016 “First in the South” presidential primary process …
Potential downsides to his candidacy?
Well, there’s the strong likelihood that Duncan’s unabashed social conservatism – which plays well in the rural areas he represents – would fall flat in other parts of the state. Is the devout Southern Baptist willing to tone down that side of his political persona?
Then there’s Duncan’s wife, Melody Duncan.
Zealously protective of her (and her family’s) privacy, sources tell FITS she’s less than thrilled with the prospect of her husband mounting a statewide campaign that would prominently feature her and the couple’s three children.
Also Duncan’s bid would be a zero-sum game: To run for governor, he would have to give up his seat in the U.S. Congress.
Assuming he pulls the trigger, Duncan is likely to face several credible GOP rivals.
The names we hear most often? U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (his delegation-mate), S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, former S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton, State Senator Tom Davis, S.C. Rep. Tommy Pope and lieutenant governor Henry McMaster.
And of course there’s still speculation surrounding U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford – a former two-term governor.
For the record, Duncan’s staffers declined to address the gubernatorial speculation.
“There are a lot of people encouraging Jeff to run for governor,” one of his aides told FITS. “That’s about all I can say at the moment. But I can confirm the conversation.”