BECAUSE THEY’RE DONE …
We continue to maintain that U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy‘s endorsement of establishment “Republican” Marco Rubio really isn’t that big of a deal. As we noted in our recent post, it’s not going to move the needle for Rubio in early-voting South Carolina … nor will it make a dent on the national stage.
“As far as we’re concerned, Gowdy’s endorsement is crucial only insomuch as it impacts the ‘Republican’ status quo undercard – in which Rubio is battling former Florida governor Jeb Bush and several other second-tier candidates for the right to represent the Washington, D.C. political class on the presidential ballot next year,” we wrote.
That’s true …
But it appears as though Gowdy’s endorsement has had a seismic impact on the future of jurisprudence in the Palmetto State – namely by eliminating any chance he had at becoming the next chief justice of the S.C. Supreme Court. The proposed elevation of Gowdy to this lofty post was billed as the next step in his political evolution – not to mention a central component of the S.C. House of Representatives’ push for judicial reform.
Now the whole plan is … kaput.
Meaning GOP leaders must go back to the drawing board.
Sources in the S.C. General Assembly went out of their way to assure us Gowdy had given up his quest to become chief justice “weeks ago,” and stressed that the Rubio endorsement had “nothing to do with” his decision.
To be fair, one conservative lawmaker said they would still vote to put Gowdy on the bench despite his controversial presidential nod.
“I was not happy with it but considering the field – if he does want it I would still vote for him,” the lawmaker told us.
But multiple other GOP lawmakers told us Gowdy’s endorsement of Rubio was a deal-breaker.
“He screwed up big time with his establishment endorsement,” a lawmaker from Gowdy’s fourth congressional district told us. “Lots of folks are mad. I’ve had several calls from constituents complaining.”
Another fourth district lawmaker confirmed that Gowdy’s endorsement of Rubio was driving “tons of calls” to their office.
“It’s running ten to one against him,” the lawmaker told us.
Gowdy’s problem? Not only has he enraged his conservative base, he’s pissed off a broad swath of establishment “Republicans” in South Carolina who were fiercely loyal to Bush. That means he can no longer rely on the typical “liberal GOP-Democrat” governing coalition to get him to 86 votes – the number he would need to win a legislative election in the S.C. General Assembly.
“He went from having a majority – to having no path to a majority,” one lawmaker put it bluntly. “In the blink of an eye.”
Again, Gowdy backers made it abundantly clear he had already decided against running for the Supreme Court at the time of the Rubio endorsement, but we think they doth protest too much.
One thing is clear, though: The option is now completely off the table for him.
In fact, whatever Gowdy’s future plans in Palmetto politics may have been … they are severely compromised by virtue of this ill-conceived endorsement.