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#SCStateHouse: Bobby Harrell Calling Off Comeback

Former legislative leader won’t seek his old State House seat in 2018 …

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Former South Carolina speaker of the House Bobby Harrell has decided not to run for his old legislative seat after all, we’re told.

Multiple sources familiar with Harrell’s plans told us this week that his comeback bid for S.C. House District 114 (map) – first reported by this news site last month – has been called off.

What happened?

Harrell’s detractors say the former legislative leader conducted some polling and discovered that winning a contested primary against state representative Lin Bennett – once among his staunchest supporters – wasn’t going to be the slam dunk they anticipated.

Allies of the former speaker disputed that claim, saying Harrell simply decided his heart wasn’t in it after spending the Christmas vacation with his family in Charleston.

“He decided selling insurance and watching his granddaughter grow up was a far more appealing proposition than diving back into the bullsh*t in Columbia,” one source close to Harrell told us.

Harrell, 61, was arguably the most powerful politician in the Palmetto State before becoming the first victim of #ProbeGate – an ongoing, multi-jurisdictional investigation into corruption in state government.

In fact, the removal of Harrell from office appears to have been the original objective of this investigation … until the script got flipped on those who initiated the inquiry.  Now the investigation has drawn a bead on the political consulting empire of Richard Quinn, a veteran “Republican” strategist whose stable of elected officials clearly intended to benefit from Harrell’s ouster.

Had Harrell won election to the S.C. House in 2018, he would have entered the chamber next January as a freshman.  And while his twenty-two years of legislative experience (and his expansive political network) certainly would have given him a leg up over other incoming lawmakers, he would have had to climb the rungs of power all over again.

Our guess is that prospect weighed heavily on Harrell during his deliberations …

According to several of our Lowcountry sources, Harrell was approached about running for the South Carolina Senate instead – specifically the District 41 seat currently held by freshman Senator Sandy Senn.

Harrell declined to entertain those entreaties, we’re told.

“He’s not running against Sandy,” one Harrell source confirmed to us.

Stay tuned … if we receive any additional information regarding Harrell’s aborted comeback we will be sure to pass it along to our readers.

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