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SC Speaker Sidesteps House Committee Battle

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FIGHT OVER LABOR, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY CHAIRMANSHIP AVERTED …

S.C. Speaker of the House Jay Lucas sidestepped a major internal battle within his divided GOP caucus this week – allowing a powerful committee chairman to retain his post while giving his challenger a coveted spot on the chamber’s budget writing committee.

S.C. Rep. Nathan Ballentine had been battling liberal lawmaker Bill Sandifer for the chairmanship of the S.C. House Labor Commerce and Industry (LCI) committee – which oversees a wide range of business and regulatory issues.

The vote for this powerful leadership post was expected to be exceedingly tight, but at the last minute Ballentine approached Lucas with a request that the race be called off.

“After they found out who was going to LCI last night, Ballentine knew he couldn’t get enough of the new people’s votes to win it,” one well-connected lobbyist told us.  “So, he asked the Speaker to put him on ways and means.”

And Lucas obliged …

That’s quite a consolation prize for Ballentine, if you ask us, especially seeing as his longtime political ally – governor Nikki Haley – is poised to depart the Palmetto political scene in January.

Ballentine takes the ways and means seat vacated by former S.C. Rep. Kenny Bingham, who abruptly announced his intention to resign from the legislature back in the spring.

(Banner via Travis Bell Photography)

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