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Taylor Brown: Previewing Two Big SCGOP House Caucus Fights




taylor brown|| By TAYLOR BROWN ||  You recently read here about blow-up related to the S.C. House GOP campaign school.  We thought there was much more to the story – and, guess what?  We were right.

Turns out the scandal was all about controlling the cash that flows into the organization.

Many GOP consultants – and some House members themselves – view money raised by the caucus as their own personal honeypot.  And it turns out some of the consultants – and their friends and supporters – don’t want anyone else having access to the honey.

Kinda cozy and “in the family,” huh?

To make matters even worse, several former “majority” leaders have actually worked for Democratic candidates against House GOP caucus members.  In other words they got paid to target Republicans.

Why does this matter?  It matters because there are two big fights brewing at the S.C. State House.  The first fight involves the election of the next chief justice of the S.C. Supreme Court.  If the speculation in the lobby is accurate, this vote could be used as a roadmap in the second big fight – the election of the next Speaker of the House.

Here is the lay of the land: Liberal Democrat Don Beatty will be the most senior member of the Supreme Court following the retirement of lame duck justice Costa Pleicones – whose one-year reign begins on January 1.  Traditionally, the legislature elects the most senior member of the court to serve as chief justice.  The problem? Even though he was elected by a GOP-controlled legislature, Beatty is not a conservative judge – and has angered many of the state’s solicitors with comments he has made (read about it here).  He was also a former Democratic member of the House.

Many Republican lawmakers have been making noise recently about electing conservative judges and justices – including a current member of the U.S. House.  But Democrats (and even some self serving GOP members) love horse trading – and leveraging their votes for personal gain and glory.

Plus, horse trading is the only way Democrats wield any influence – which they do.

How does this work?  Democrats bring 40-odd votes to the table, but by cutting deals with liberal, self-serving Republicans – they can quickly reach majority status.  And my guess is they will be using this Supreme Court race as a staking horse to see if the coalition can hold together can successfully challenge Speaker Jay Lucas.

How bad could this get?  We could end up with a liberal court and a liberal speaker in what is supposed to be one of the reddest states in the nation.

Stay tuned …

Taylor Brown is a 20-something Wofford College graduate who somehow got sucked into politics at an early age.  She is easily won over with Rush’s fast food, wine, and spirited political arguments.