STATE HOUSE IN TURMOIL OVER LATEST JUDICIAL ELECTION THEATRICS …
Once again, the S.C. General Assembly has proven it cannot elect a judge to the state’s highest court without the process devolving into a complete and total clusterfuck …
We’ve seen scandalous elections for the S.C. Supreme Court in the past, but the current three-way race – and the corrupt process leading up to it – epitomizes everything that’s wrong with politics in the Palmetto State.
And everything we have repeatedly sought to reform.
First, the very latest on the current fight: Ralph King “Tripp” Anderson, the chief judge of South Carolina’s administrative law court, has reportedly “reconsidered” his previous decision to leave the race – which would have created a two-way battle between S.C. court of appeals chief judge John Few and Bruce Williams, another judge on the appeals court.
Anderson supporters are adamant that he never left the race (accusing this website of false reporting on behalf of one of the candidates), but multiple lawmakers familiar with the vote counting confirmed that the veteran judge initiated a mad dash late Tuesday afternoon by allowing his supporters to “contact their seconds.”
When a judicial candidate permits his or her supporters to “contact their seconds,” they are effectively releasing these backers from their obligations so that they can support other, more viable candidates.
“He got out then reconsidered,” one legislative leader in the S.C. House told us. “Calls were being made to his supporters asking for their seconds.”
A Senate leader confirmed that account.
Anderson – the hand-picked selection of powerful S.C. Senate leader Hugh Leatherman – has no path to victory in the race. He simply does not have enough votes to win. But his presence in the race – or absence from it – moving forward is pivotal.
In fact, it is the deciding factor in the race …
Why does Anderson’s decision to “stay” or “go” matter so much? Because Few, the early favorite to win the seat, cannot win if Anderson drops out. Meanwhile Williams – who has been making a late charge – cannot win if Anderson stays in.
Once again, not surprisingly, the notoriously corrupt S.C. Legislative Black Caucus is in the thick of the dirty dealing … effectively holding the nomination of Few hostage in exchange for concessions in other down-ballot races (and possibly in exchange for consideration in next year’s Supreme Court race).
We’re told negotiations will continue up until the final vote on Wednesday … with one Democratic operative telling us the caucus is “for sale to the highest bidder.”
“I adore them as people but there’s no use lying about it,” the operative said.
Well, we don’t adore them … but we’re not going to argue with the assessment.
Frankly, this whole process stinks – and is further evidence of our contention that lawmakers should have absolutely nothing to do with the selection of judges. That responsibility should be left to the executive branch or to the voters of the state.