POWERFUL “REPUBLICAN” LAWMAKER MULLING FUTURE
Kenny Bingham – the powerful South Carolina state lawmaker who is currently suing this website and its founding editor for libel – will not seek reelection to the S.C. House of Representatives in 2016.
News of Bingham’s decision was first reported by Andrew Shain of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, who referred to him as a “go-to player” in the legislature.
That’s accurate. The 53-year-old owner of a Cayce, S.C. engineering firm was widely viewed as a frontrunner to become the next speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives – and his last minute decision not to run for reelection to the House (filing for legislative offices opens next week) raises a host of questions as to what may have motivated his decision.
“He’s too ambitious for there not to be a reason,” one state lawmaker told us.
Shain’s article referenced as much …
“Bingham had unfulfilled ambitions to be S.C. House speaker one day,” he reported.
“Republican” sources tell us Bingham may be in the process of transferring his ambition to the S.C. Senate – specifically a possible bid against State Senator Nikki Setzler, one of the few remaining white Democrats in the S.C. General Assembly.
Bingham would be giving up a lot of influence in the House to become a freshman Senator, though. He is currently chairman of the S.C. House ethics committee – the legislative self-policing panel that whitewashed the transgressions of governor Nikki Haley four years ago. He’s also a member of the powerful ways and means committee, which gets first crack at drafting the state budget each year. Prior to that, he was the “majority” leader of the “Republican-controlled” S.C. House from 2008-12.
The weakness of current S.C. speaker Jay Lucas in the aftermath of last year’s Confederate flag flap seemed to open a door for Bingham – in fact many lawmakers have told us he nearly beat out Lucas for the job when it became available in late 2014.
“He was next in line,” one told us.