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#SC2018: Tom Davis Gets GOP Love




Tom Davis – the top fiscal conservative in South Carolina state government – hasn’t decided yet whether he will run for governor of the Palmetto State in 2018. If he does, though, the libertarian-leaning lawmaker appears poised to pick up some serious grassroots support.

Davis has been making the rounds at GOP gatherings across the state – including an appearance in Myrtle Beach, S.C. earlier this week.  Prior to that he’s addressed GOP meetings in Pickens and Dorchester counties within the past month.

How is he being received?  Very well …

“The Myrtle Beach Republican Women were riveted to their luncheon chairs listening to reformer Tom Davis speak the truth about taxes and spending and government waste,” Johnnie Bellamy, leader of the group.  “Tom Davis rocks! The ladies and gentlemen in Myrtle Beach LOVED him.”

What about his policy positions?  And his possible future as a statewide candidate?

“We expect our local delegation to be 100 percent on board with him,” Bellamy told us. “We would support him for reelection or for a bid for any other office.”

She’s not exaggerating … we spoke with several attendees at Davis’ recent Myrtle Beach address who told us they were planning on financially supporting him even if he were to run against “Republican” incumbent governor Henry McMaster.

As noted in prior posts, Davis’ principled advocacy on behalf of taxpayers singlehandedly blocked an unnecessary gasoline 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 (especially the poorer ones).

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.”

Indeed … that’s basically what we’ve been saying for years, Davis is just infinitely better at saying it than we are.  And has been willing to stand against the entire GOP establishment at the S.C. State House in support of his convictions.

Davis has represented S.C. Senate district 46 (map) since 2008 – championing the state’s fledgling parental choice program and advocating for broad-based individual tax relief.  Prior to being elected to the Senate, Davis was chief of staff to former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.  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.

Will he?

We’ll have to wait and see … although at this point it seems likely that some sort of exploratory committee could be in the works.

In addition to McMaster, labor attorney Catherine Templeton and former Democratic lieutenant governor Yancey McGill have both already announced their gubernatorial campaigns already – with Templeton dramatically exceeding expectations on the fundraising front.  Several other GOP candidates – including current lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant and State Senator Katrina Shealy – are reportedly contemplating bids as well.

McMaster ascended to the governor’s office in January when Nikki Haley was confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN).  He was expected to cruise to victory in 2018, but his proximity to an ongoing investigation into public corruption at the S.C. State House has clouded those prospects.

Still, McMaster remains the frontrunner for the 2018 GOP primary – especially if he can keep the support of U.S. president Donald Trump.



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