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#SC2018: Is Tom Davis Making Moves?




South Carolina Senator Tom Davis will travel to Easley, S.C. in mid-June to address a group of GOP partisans – a speech that has many Palmetto political observers speculating as to his future plans.

Davis – viewed as a possible 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate – is scheduled to meet with members of the Pickens County “Republican” party on June 15 at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

“Senator Davis has led the fight in the State Senate the last three years to stop the gas tax increase and institute real reforms at the SCDOT,” county party chairman Rick Tate noted in an invitation to the event posted on Facebook.

That’s true …

Davis’ principled advocacy on behalf of taxpayers successfully blocked this unnecessary tax hike in 2015 and 2016 – and nearly did so again this year.  Unfortunately for dirt poor Palmetto State motorists, the skids were greased against Davis this go-round.

Which we suspect will lead to predictable results for taxpayers.

In addition to opposing this unneeded (and potentially unconstitutional) tax hike, Davis has argued passionately on behalf of structural and spending reforms at the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) – and has proposed abolishing the corrupt transportation infrastructure bank (STIB).

“This third-world political spoils system of road spending is the norm,” Davis wrote recently.  ” And it’s why, despite substantial increases in funding, our roads remain in bad condition, and why simply focusing on the revenue side of the equation isn’t the answer.  Unless and until true accountability is brought to the expenditure side of the ledger, our roads will never be in the condition you have the right to expect.”

Not surprisingly, such high-profile stands have placed Davis’ name in the conversation for a possible statewide campaign – especially seeing as the field for the 2018 “Republican” gubernatorial nomination appears to be opening up.

Will Davis run?  We’ll have to wait and see …

He has consistently declined to address such speculation in the past – but most Palmetto political observers say it would be surprising to see him take the statewide plunge.

“Tom Davis has picked up a lot of seniority in the State Senate – and could pick up even more in the very near future,” one veteran S.C. State House lobbyist told us this week. “I see him staying in the legislature where he will be better positioned to advance his agenda.”

For decades, South Carolina has been dominated by its all-powerful legislature, leaving governors with very little actual power beyond the bully pulpit.

Davis has represented S.C. Senate district 46 (map) since 2008.  Having been reelected to a third four-year term last fall, he could run for governor next year without having to give up his seat in the State Senate.

Prior to being elected to the Senate, Davis was chief of staff to former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

There are currently three announced GOP candidates for governor of South Carolina – incumbent “Republican” Henry McMaster, labor attorney Catherine Templeton and former Democratic lieutenant governor Yancey McGill.

Several other GOP candidates – including current lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant and State Senator Katrina Shealy – are reportedly contemplating bids.

As of this writing, no Democrats have announced their intentions to run – although a recruitment campaign is currently underway.



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