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#SCMatrix: 7/30/2018

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Welcome back to #SCMatrix, this news site’s semi-regular assemblage of news and notes from around South Carolina (and beyond) …

We launched this format a few weeks ago in the hopes of getting more information into the Palmetto State’s marketplace of ideas.

Got an item you’d like us to include in this format?  Email it …

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JEFF DUNCAN EVENT UPDATE

(Via: Jeff Duncan)

1:15 p.m. EDT: Congressman Jeff Duncan (above) has announced keynote speakers for his upcoming eighth annual “Faith and Freedom Barbecue” in Anderson, S.C. next month.  The event – which draws national headlines during the Palmetto State’s “First in the South” presidential primary season – will be held at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 27 at the Anderson Civic Center.

Among its top draws?  Former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager Dave Bossie.

“Corey and Dave were instrumental in laying the foundation for President Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda,” said Duncan. “I look forward to hearing them discuss what it was like on the campaign trail, and how the Trump Administration is restoring freedom in this country.”

Tickets for the gathering are $35 per person or $60 per couple.  They can be purchased on Duncan’s website.  Duncan, 52, is in his fourth term in Washington, D.C. representing the Palmetto State’s third congressional district (map).

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“FLIP AND GIVE”

9:40 a.m. EDT:  A Columbia, S.C. based real estate firm is putting a neat twist on the home renovation craze.

The Moore Company, which bills itself as “Columbia’s leading boutique, locally-owned real estate firm,” is launching a project called “Flip and Give.”

Over the course of the next month, company co-owners Graeme Moore and Justin Drafts will be flipping a home located on Duncan Street in the upscale Shandon neighborhood in downtown Columbia, S.C.   What distinguishes this project from others the company has undertaken in the past?  For starters, Moore and Drafts won’t be calling the shots on this particular renovation – they are turning those responsibilities over to “Flip and Give” viewers.

“The community will be able to choose the following items: master bathroom floor plan, roof color and shingle type, cabinet choices, tile selections, granite, island color, front door style and color, plumbing fixtures, lighting selections and hardwood stain,” a release from the company noted.  “The votes will be staggered over the next several months. Other votes may be added during the process.”

The first vote is scheduled for Wednesday, August 1.

Once the project is complete, there’s another twist … viewers get to decide which local charity receives the net proceeds from the sale of the home.

“We are extremely excited to share this project with the local community,” Moore said.  “We love helping our clients buy and sell homes. So many of them are interested in renovating, and this will give them a chance to experience it firsthand.”

Indeed … a nifty concept to be sure.

To participate in the first round of voting for this project, click here …

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S.C. HOUSE CANDIDATE ADDRESSES ARREST RECORD 

9:15 a.m. EDT: Last week, this news site reported exclusively on the arrest record of community activist JA Moore – the Democratic nominee for S.C. House District 15 (map).  Moore was arrested last February and charged with driving under suspension and failure to surrender a suspended driver’s license.  A review of his record revealed prior arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) and reckless driving.

We didn’t view any of Moore’s past problems as especially pernicious, and we only reported on them because Democrats decided during a recent special election in the Palmetto Lowcountry that candidates’ DUI arrests (and related vehicular issues) were fair game.

That’s why we were somewhat surprised to see Moore issue a lengthy statement on his past arrests via Facebook.

According to the 33-year-old activist, he is the victim of “a negative campaign of dirty politics” being waged by his opponent – “Republican” incumbent Samuel Rivers.  Specifically, Moore said that Rivers “refuses to discuss issues that matter and instead dwells on my past.”

That may be the case … but it seems ill-suited to a statement in which Moore cops to everything that’s been alleged against him.

Moore’s statement then proceeded to invoke former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, who famously said “when they go low, we go high.”

Because no one has ever used that line before in responding to a political punch …

Oh well …

Again, we didn’t think anything on Moore’s record was that big of a deal.  Which is why we would have advised him to simply ignore it and move on.

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S.C. SENATE CANDIDATE BACKS PERSONHOOD BILL 

(Via: iStock)

8:46 a.m. EDT: One of the four “Republican” candidates for a vacant South Carolina Senate seat has signed on in support of Personhood legislation.  Columbia, S.C. attorney Christian Stegmaier affixed his signature to the group’s pledge over the weekend, committing to “defend all preborn lives, without exception.”

Personhood legislation failed to make it through the S.C. General Assembly during the 2017-2018 session despite the aggressive advocacy of senator Richard Cash – its lead sponsor.

Why not?  Because “Republicans” in the S.C. General Assembly aren’t truly pro-life, that’s why.

Anyway, Stegmaier is seeking the GOP nomination for S.C. Senate District 20.  This seat was vacated on June 4 by former senator John Courson, the latest politician to go down in connection with the ongoing #ProbeGate scandal.  Also running on the “Republican” side are insurance agent Bill Turbeville, pastor John Holler and attorney Benjamin Dunn.

On the Democratic side, uber-influential attorney Dick Harpootlian is the runaway frontrunner for his party’s nomination.

Partisan primary elections for this seat are only two weeks away, with the nominees squaring off in the November 6 election.

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RALPH NORMAN INTRODUCES “FILE” ACT

(Via: Getty Images)

8:33 a.m. EDT: Congressman Ralph Norman wants the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to more expeditiously monitor the funding it provides to Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform abortions.  Accordingly, he has introduced the so-called Funds In Legal Evaluation Act, or FILE Act.  This bill would require HHS secretary Alex Azar to review and report on how Planned Parenthood and other groups spend the tax dollars they receive.

“The FILE Act will ensure that organizations are complying with federal law and not using tax payer dollars to provide abortions,” Norman said.  “If an organization has failed to follow the law and used federal funds for abortion services, then they will be denied future funding.”

“Organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, are already required to submit an annual accounting of how they spent funds they received, but the HHS Secretary does not review them in a timely manner,” Norman added.  “This means that Planned Parenthood continues to provide abortion-related services, but we are not aware whether or not they use taxpayer dollars to do so.”

Azar, an attorney and former drug company executive, was appointed to his post by U.S. president Donald Trump last November and confirmed in January.  He replaced Trump’s first HHS secretary, Tom Price, who resigned in September 2017 after reports surfaced regarding his improper use of taxpayer-funded private jet charters and military aircraft for personal travel.

Price resigned after just 231 days in office, making him the shortest-tenured HHS secretary in history.

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