Welcome back to #SCMatrix, this news site’s occasional assemblage of news and notes from around South Carolina (and beyond) …
We launched this format earlier this year 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 to us with the subject line “Matrix.”
SOLAR PROJECT ANNOUNCED
A regional solar power provider is investing $28 million on a facility in Orangeburg County, S.C., according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Commerce. The project – dubbed Ulmer Solar, LLC – is being launched by Southern Current, a group that has been extensively involved in the political debate over this emerging energy issue.
Ulmer Solar LLC is the second solar project launched by Southern Current in Orangeburg County, following a $10 million project announced last March.
“The renewable energy market continues to be a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and today’s announcement in Orangeburg County is proof of that,” commerce secretary Bobby Hitt said.
Southern Current owns and manages “utility-scale solar energy facilities across the southeastern United States,” according to the commerce release. The company is a staunch supporter of S. 890, the so-called S.C. Energy Freedom Act. That legislation – which failed to clear a Senate judiciary committee earlier this year – is sponsored by state senator Tom Davis.
Davis told us his legislation would “strengthen our state’s independent power-production markets and gives ratepayers some much-needed relief.”
JAMES SMITH: CRONY CAPITALIST?
South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial nominee James Smith is touting his role in the first major economic development “win” for the embattled Bull Street redevelopment project in downtown Columbia, S.C.
According to a news release from Smith’s campaign, he shepherded taxpayer-funded incentives for TCube Solutions – a Columbia-based insurance technology firm that was ultimately purchased by Capgemini, a Paris-based professional services and business consulting firm. Last week, Capgemini announced its intention to locate 200 new jobs on the Bull Street property – partly in response to Smith’s successful corporate recruiting efforts.
This announcement was actually praised by Smith’s rival – incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster. The 71-year-old career politician praised Capgemini as a “perfect example of the type of innovative companies that are revolutionizing South Carolina’s economy.” McMaster also called the announcement a “milestone for the community.”
We wonder if he knew how intimately involved his opponent was in the deal before he made those comments …
No matter who is responsible for landing these jobs, we contend that government should have no involvement whatsoever in “economic development” – a.k.a. taking money from taxpayers and giving it to one company over another. Capital investment is a function of the private sector, and the fact that Bull Street has languished for nearly six years despite the infusion of tens of millions in tax dollars is a testament to what happens when government takes the reins.
RICHLAND COUNTY VOTING PROBLEMS
(Via: Getty Images)
Prepare your “surprised face.” There are voting problems in Richland County, South Carolina … again.
According to multiple sources who attempted to cast their ballots in today’s special “Republican” runoff for S.C. Senate District 20 (map), voting machine malfunctions have forced poll managers to accept ballots on paper.
“People are voting on paper,” one source said, referring specifically to issues at the Old Woodlands precinct in downtown Columbia, S.C.
Another source following this election told us the problems were “countywide.”
What is happening? A source familiar with the issue told us the county is having “problems with flash cards.”
“(They) did not test all the machines before deploying,” the source said. “(The problem) should have been detected/ corrected during testing.”
Today’s special GOP runoff pits attorney Benjamin Dunn against pastor John Holler (both of Columbia). Dunn and Holler finished first and second, respectively, in the “Republican” primary for this seat on August 14. Dunn is expected to win the election – and the GOP nomination – given his strong base of support in the suburban regions of the county.
The winner of this head-to-head battle will match up against Democrat Dick Harpootlian – who cruised to his party’s nomination two weeks ago when he captured more votes than both of the GOP finalists combined. That election will be held on November 6 – the same day as the general election.
DOMINO’S PIZZA NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD
Most people in politics you can figure out like that (snaps fingers). In a matter of seconds, you can deduce what they are gunning for (usually it isn’t just a political office) and what is motivating them in their pursuit of it.
Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Mandy Powers Norrell is not like that … at all.
The Lancaster, S.C. attorney – currently serving in her third term in the S.C. House of Representatives – is one of the most unique, mysterious people we have ever encountered in our years of covering Palmetto politics. She is also one of the most stunning … from head to toe. Literally.
“Cannot describe how awesome it was to have pizza in bed with Mitch after a long day on the campaign trail!” Norrell wrote.
Norrell’s picture wasn’t just notable for the food, though …
Within five minutes of her tweet being posted, nearly two dozen of our readers had screen-capped it and texted it or emailed it to us … taking note of Norrell’s long, toned legs.
“You better post this before she takes it down!” one told us, excitedly.
We did …
Norrell has (obviously) been working hard in the gym over the last few months – as well as on the campaign trail. Good for her. And good for anyone who is this comfortable in their own skin (and this unconcerned with the flap jaws in the fishbowl might have to say about them). At the end of the day, that’s what it is all about …
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