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2016 Primary: Warring GOP Establishments




It’s been a rough year for the “Republican” establishment in South Carolina. Obviously its leading politicians and political operatives continue to wield immense power – but their ability to sway voters is waning.

Take governor Nikki Haley, who went “all in” for Washington, D.C. insider Marco Rubio during the recent “First in the South” presidential primary.  Despite being at the peak of her popularity, Haley couldn’t deliver even a quarter of “First in the South” GOP voters to Rubio.  Next consider veteran “Republican” consultant Richard Quinn, whose expansive neo-Confederate political empire pulled out all the stops in support of former Florida governor Jeb Bush – only to see him earn a paltry 7.8 percent of the vote.

Quinn’s advocacy on behalf of Bush was so bad the former frontrunner abandoned his campaign after the shellacking he took in South Carolina.

Embarrassing ….

Fresh from these resounding rebukes, these dueling Palmetto political enclaves are once again spin doctoring – seeking to sway voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary elections for seats in the S.C. General Assembly.

Ground zero in this pitched battle of status quos?  The S.C. Senate – which is dominated by liberal “Republican” leader Hugh Leatherman of Florence county.

Haley has made defeating Leatherman her main mission this spring.  She’s also been campaigning hard against several other fiscally liberal State Senators – including Luke Rankin of Horry county and Wes Hayes of York county – and is working against establishment favorite Stephen Goldfinch in another State Senate race in Georgetown county.

Quinn?  The embattled strategist – whose name has been referenced in connection with a major anti-corruption investigation – is backing several of the incumbents.

We oppose Leatherman, Rankin, Hayes and Goldfinch –  although to be fair, we’re not sold on the “reform” candidates Haley is backing, either.

The whole thing strikes us as one set of entrenched special interests fighting another for political turf – not a battle over ideas that could actually change the direction of the state.

Nonetheless these warring special interests have plowed a ton of money into this week’s races, looking to boost turnout in an election that hasn’t drawn a lot of South Carolinians to the polls in years past.

In 2014, a whopping 84.08 percent of South Carolina’s 2.8 million registered voters stayed home – and that was an election that included several contested primary races for statewide seats.

Will turnout improve in 2016?

We shall see … but until quality options are on the ballot, how few or how many voters go to the polls isn’t going to matter.

According to our sources, Haley’s candidates have made late inroads in the two coastal State Senate races – and have Hayes on the ropes in York county – although her top prize (Leatherman’s seat) seems destined to elude her.

This website is not endorsing candidates in this primary election cycle because we see zero benefit in doing so.  Sure, we’d love to see Leatherman, Rankin, Hayes and numerous other incumbents get bounced from office, but if they are only going to be replaced by another set of “Republican” hacks (affiliated with an equally onerous status quo) … what’s the point?

And as we’ve repeatedly documented, trusting Haley and her allies to “reform” anything is pure delusion.  Truth be told on the dollars and cents issues that matter to taxpayers, Haley has been every bit as bad as the lawmakers she’s now opposing.  If not worse.

In fact it baffles us Haley is campaigning against fiscally liberal “Republicans.”  She is one.