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#QuinnFall: Who Benefits?




At this point it’s abundantly clear the influential Republican political consulting empire of Richard Quinn is in serious trouble.  The firm’s proximity to an ongoing anti-corruption investigation has left it – and its roster of high-profile clients – badly exposed.

Not to mention politically weakened …

Make no mistake, though: Quinn’s firm is not about to go gently into that (soon-to-be balmy) Palmetto night.

As dire as things look for these embattled neo-Confederates, the “Quinndom” will not go down without a fight.  And anyone who doubts the firm’s capacity to wage war – especially with a full range of political and corporate assets still at its disposal – might be well-served re-reading The Art of War.

Or spending some time hanging around a cornered animal …

Having said that, it’s clear Quinn and his allies are under siege … and deservedly so, based on everything that’s been publicized up to this point.  It’s also clear Quinn’s so-called “Republican” rivals are gleefully piling on … eager to hasten his oncoming demise.

Which leads us to an interesting question …

Cui bono? 

For those of you educated in government-run South Carolina schools, that’s Latin for “whose good?”

In other words, When the walls of the “Quinndom” finally come crashing down, who benefits?

Let’s take a look …



A veteran establishment Republican who – like Quinn – is frequently aligned with liberal special interests in Columbia, S.C., Tompkins stands to gain the most from the #QuinnFall.  His empire briefly surpassed the “Quinndom” in Palmetto State influence a decade-and-a-half ago, but his power has waned considerably over the intervening years.  Not surprisingly Tompkins and his network – rumored to include outgoing SCGOP chairman Matt Moore – are said to be working overtime to make sure Quinn’s fall comes as fast (and as hard) as possible.



Like Tompkins, Fooshe is another S.C. State House insider who doubles as a campaign strategist.  He has proved his mettle recently in several tough “swing” legislative districts – and recently expanded his practice by partnering with up-and-coming strategist David Carter, another dual-threat politico with legislative access/ campaign bona fides.  In the increasingly likely event the #QuinnFall creates a major power vacuum under the State House dome, keep an eye on Fooshe and his expanding network.



There is no hotter pollster in America right now than Robert Cahaly – who nailed the results of the 2016 presidential election (in South Carolina and beyond).  Targeted by the Quinns back in 2010, Cahaly was vindicated by a recent court ruling upholding his polling methods.  Having survived the Quinn onslaught, Cahaly is now thriving.  Given his growing national presence we suspect the Georgia-based advisor would be far less inclined than Tompkins to go “all in” against his old nemesis – but if the “Quinndom” does indeed go down, expect Cahaly to inherit a big chunk of its former business.



Based in Lexington, S.C., Whetsell’s consulting shop has always had a “boutique” feel to it.  Never discussed among the “top tier” of South Carolina GOP advisors, he nonetheless always seemed to land clients in big races – often by virtue of strategic partnerships formed with other Republican firms.  Effective and unassuming, Whetsell is perhaps better positioned than anyone else on this list to successfully fill  the void left by a likely #QuinnFall.  How come?  Well, he’s already got business relationships with a number of Quinn’s clients who are likely to be searching for “new representation” in the immediate future.



We hesitated to include McMullen’s name on this list for a couple of reasons.  First, given his prominent role in the election of Donald Trump last year – his focus of late has been almost exclusively on the national stage.  Also, McMullen recently moved his corporate headquarters to Charleston, S.C. – which would seem to indicate he is less focused than ever on State House politics.  Exceedingly loyal to governor Henry McMaster – a Quinn client who has unwisely doubled down in his support for the embattled neo-Confederates – McMullen would be a natural fallback for the new governor and other surviving members of the “Quinndom.”  Well, assuming he’s available.  And assuming there are any survivors.

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