South Carolina politicians are whispering, posturing and positioning themselves in anticipation of a rumored shakeup in one of the two highest elected offices chosen by Palmetto State voters.
And yes, we are referring to a possible change in one of the state’s two seats in the United States Senate. Or perhaps both of them. What remains unclear is who is making the move that could set the dominoes falling … and why.
Both ascended to the chamber from the U.S. House of Representatives. Graham won election to the Senate in 2002 and was reelected in 2008 and 2014. He is currently serving as chairman of the chamber’s judiciary committee.
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(Via: North Charleston, S.C.)
Scott (above) was appointed by former governor Nikki Haley in 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jim DeMint. He was elected to fill the final two years of DeMint’s term in 2014 and then won a full six-year term in 2016.
Graham is up for reelection again in 2020, and is likely to win after abandoning his erstwhile #NeverTrumpism. So far, no credible challenger has emerged against the 63-year-old Central, S.C. native.
Scott is up for reelection again in 2022, although he has yet to say whether he will seek another six-year term. Many believe the 53-year-old North Charleston native is eager to return to the Palmetto State – perhaps as a candidate for governor in 2022.
That could set up some interesting dynamics – especially if Scott were to step down prior to the conclusion of his current term.
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As for Graham (above), he is the subject of constant speculation regarding national appointments – whether it be a seat on the U.S. supreme court or a possible post in the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump (assuming Trump were to win a second term).
Scott is no fan of incumbent GOP governor Henry McMaster, who has made it clear he is running for a second full term as governor in 2022.
That’s worth remembering because if either Scott or Graham were to step down prior to the conclusion of their current terms, McMaster would appoint their replacements. He could even appoint himself to the job if he wanted it.
Senate moves are huge – and not just because of the changes at the top. Readers will recall how Haley’s 2013 appointment of Scott paved the way for former governor Mark Sanford to win Scott’s vacated seat in the U.S. House – an office Sanford held until January of this year.
More than changes in other offices, Senate shifts fundamentally reconfigure the balance of political power in states where these vacancies take place.
So … do we have any concrete information suggesting that either Graham or Scott is mulling an imminent departure from the Senate? No. However we are reliably informed that multiple Palmetto politicos are discussing the possibility of an upcoming Senate vacancy in surprisingly specific terms.
They are also planning accordingly … as if it could happen at any moment.
“Something is in the air,” one national strategist following the maneuvering told us.
According to our sources, most of the focus centers around Scott – who has made it clear to his intimates that he is unhappy with life in Washington, D.C. (even more so after drawing the ire of Beltway conservatives over Trump’s judicial nominees).
Needless to say we will keep our ears to the ground in the event we hear more specific information regarding these senatorial shakeup rumors.
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