RUNOFF ELECTION MARRED BY TROUBLING ALLEGATIONS
A key endorsement in the “Republican” runoff for South Carolina’s eleventh circuit solicitor is being called into question – raising fresh concerns about dirty dealing on the part of the so-called “Lexington Ring.”
The Ring – a cabal of crooked cops and corrupt politicians operating in the Midlands region of the Palmetto State – has been weakened in recent years by multiple arrests and other scandals.
While many of the ring’s key players have been taken down a notch, the shadowy network appears to have found a new ally in the state’s top prosecutor – a guy whose office helped negotiate lenient sentences for many of its members.
According to our sources, embattled S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson – currently fighting for his political life against allegations that he improperly obstructed the convening of a grand jury likely to issue indictments of his political allies – has intervened in the eleventh circuit solicitor’s race.
Who is he backing? Status quo candidate Rick Hubbard.
“There was a carrot, there was a stick and there was a very powerful politician holding both in his hands,” one of Wilson’s top aides told us.
Specifically, Wilson is said to have pressured prosecutor Larry Wedekind – the third-place finisher in the June 14 GOP primary for the eleventh circuit – to endorse Hubbard over second-place finisher Candice Lively, who is pushing an aggressive reform agenda that could target some of the “ringleaders.”
Wilson clearly doesn’t want that to happen – hence the alleged insider maneuvering.
In addition to working together in Wilson’s office, both Hubbard and Wedekind previously worked in the eleventh circuit office under disgraced solicitor Donnie Myers – who is resigning the office at the end of his current term.
Cozy right? Just wait …
According to multiple sources in Wilson’s office, Wedekind was reportedly promised a top job in the attorney general’s office in exchange for his endorsement of Hubbard in the June 28 runoff.
That’s the alleged carrot.
The stick? According to these same sources, Wedekind was also told he would “never find work again” in the Palmetto State if he failed to endorse Hubbard.
In South Carolina, party primary races go to runoff elections if no candidate receives a majority of votes (i.e. more than fifty percent) in the first round of ballots. Hubbard narrowly missed hitting this threshold last week – setting up his showdown with Lively next Tuesday.
Why would Wedekind want to go back to Wilson’s office? Based on the toxic circumstances that allegedly accompanied his departure earlier this year, that’s a good question.
According to our sources, the two-time Afghan War veteran was treated exceedingly poorly when he left the attorney general’s office back in February. Specifically, we’re told one of Wilson’s top deputies – Heather Savitz Weiss – basically threw Wedekind out on his ear when he informed her he was stepping down as a prosecutor with the state grand jury.
“Heather pretty much ordered Larry out the day he turned in his notice,” one attorney general staffer told us. “He had to come back the next day for his stuff.”
It gets worse. Our sources in Wilson’s office say Wedekind and Hubbard – who stepped down to pursue the solicitor’s post after Wedekind – were treated very differently by Wilson when they informed him of their interest in the eleventh circuit position.
Hubbard was allegedly told he could return to the attorney general’s office the event he lost the election, while Wedekind was reportedly told he could not come back.
Apparently there is now an opening for him … thanks to his endorsement of Hubbard.
“Alan wants the Larry voters to vote for Rick,” one of sources inside Wilson’s office said. “If they vote for Candice, Rick could lose the race.”
Why does Wilson care? Shouldn’t he be focused on more important things these days?
Yes … but he’s apparently become deeply invested in Hubbard’s victory, and seems intent on pulling out all the stops to ensure it comes to pass.
This website has been effusive in its praise of Lively. We believe she’s the only candidate capable of cleaning up the cesspool of Lexington county politics.
We’re not alone in that assessment. Most of the Wilson staffers we spoke with agreed with us.
“She needs to win if anything is going to change,” one of Wilson’s prosecutors told us.