At midnight on Saturday, hundreds of candidates for various political offices across the state of South Carolina found themselves running up against an important deadline.
September 30 was the final day of the third quarter of 2017 – one of four standard demarcation lines used by S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) to keep track of all the money flowing in and out of Palmetto political campaigns.
Within the next ten days, candidates for elected office in South Carolina (from dogcatcher all the way to governor) must submit campaign finance reports detailing how much money they raised, who they received it from, how much cash they spent and what they purchased.
Due October 10, data must be provided for the months of July, August and September … and these numbers must be incorporated with incoming and outgoing receipts from previous filings (unless this is a candidate’s first report).
Campaigns must also disclose any loans or in-kind contributions they have received.
Sound like fun? Of course not. Just thinking about all of that math makes us tired all over …
But the numbers matter. In addition to providing the public with vital information about the people behind the people soliciting their votes, these reports also show which candidates have momentum – and staying power – in political races.
For example, two surprisingly strong campaign finance filings by Lowcountry attorney Catherine Templeton (one in April and another in July) fundamentally altered the landscape of the 2018 South Carolina governor’s race.
Templeton went from being an afterthought in some circles to a legitimate challenger to incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster.
Some are even viewing her as the frontrunner for this seat …
Can Templeton repeat her remarkable success during the quarter that just concluded?
We’ll have to wait and see …
Summer months are typically slower for political fundraising – especially during odd-numbered years. So we suspect candidates will see lower totals across-the-boards.
As for McMaster, we look forward to seeing how much money scandal-scarred S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) commissioner John Hardee raised for him as part of his ongoing effort to keep his seat on this influential (and notoriously corrupt) commission.
McMaster’s other special interest hauls will also be worth watching …
In addition to gubernatorial fundraising, the next few days will see initial campaign finance reports filed in a pair of special elections for the S.C. House of Representatives – one race in the Lowcountry and another in the Upstate.
We’ll be very interested in following the money in those two contests …
We’ll also be interested in seeing whether embattled S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson keeps his campaign account above the $1 million mark – and whether he draws any new challengers on the “Republican” side of the ledger.
Finally, we’ll continue to track which Palmetto politicians remained loyal to the embattled political empire of consultant Richard Quinn – whose once-omnipotent firm has seen its client roster dwindle after being implicated in an ongoing, multi-jurisdictional investigation into corruption in state government.
Stay tuned … obviously there are plenty of storylines to follow as we follow the money …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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