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SC District 75: Swing District? Fleecing Of A Newbie?

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POST-MORTEM ON ONE OF SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATS’ BIGGEST FAILURES …

For the past six years, South Carolina Democrats have been telling anyone who would listen that S.C. House District 75 (map) was a swing district.

Why let facts get in the way of a good story, right?

The Facts: House District 75 was represented by a Republican, Jim Harrison, from 1988 until 2012.  Since then it has been represented by Kirkman Finlay.  According to our math, that means the district has been represented by Republicans for the past 28 years.

On election night, Finlay was reelected by a double-landslide over Democratic candidate Tyler Gregg – with the GOP victor receiving considerable Democratic support.

Finlay has now defeated Democratic candidates by steadily increasing margins in the past three elections – which irks the local Democratic thugocracy led by Steve Benjamin and S.C. Rep. James Smith.

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FLEECING A NEWCOMER …

As we do a post-mortem on this race, we have been digging into why and how a political novice like Gregg (who is not from this area) decided to challenge one of the most recognizable, popular politicians in the Midlands.

We have researched this question and come up with some very interesting answers.

First, we heard that twice-failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen and former Democratic Party boss Dick Harpootlian recruited him.  Next we heard that former Democratic party director and ex-Jim Clyburn operative Amanda Loveday was also involved in Gregg’s recruitment.

Gregg’s failed campaign was ultimately managed by Speak Stragetic, a Democratic consulting firm whose opening we previously praised.

Speak Strategic is run by Tyler Jones, a young political operative who – prior to this election cycle, anyway – had always impressed us with his skill set.

Jones dramatically overcharged and underperformed in this race, though.  His candidate’s total campaign budget was just over $46,000, according to documents filed with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC).  Of that, nearly $21,000 went to Jones’ company.

What did that money buy Gregg?  An ass-whooping, that’s what.

On the flip side, Finlay’s campaign was managed by the firm of Steve Fooshe – which boasts a growing stable of clients on both sides of the partisan divide.  Based on these results, we suspect Fooshe could wind up poaching some of Jones’ Democratic business in the very near future.

(Banner via Travis Bell Photography)

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