In a state where the notion of limited government sadly seems to be limited to “Republican” campaign rhetoric, one member of South Carolina’s GOP-controlled government state government has consistently fought against the increasingly ineffective, unsustainable excess. We are referring, of course, to state senator Tom Davis of Beaufort, S.C. – who from 2015-2017 waged an impassioned filibuster against a proposed gasoline tax hike.
Davis was ultimately defeated on that issue by fiscally liberal GOP senators … but the last three years have proved his point: Until you fix what is wrong with government, pouring more money into government is never going to work.
How do we know this? Because the gas tax passed over Davis’ objections is … not working.
Despite this setback, Davis has been a champion for freedom and free markets ever since he ran for (and won) S.C. Senate District 46 (.pdf) in 2008 – defeating incumbent “Republican” Catherine Ceips in the GOP primary. After defeating Democrat Kent Fletcher in the 2008 general election that year, Davis ran unopposed in both the 2012 and 2016 primary and general elections.
Prior to serving in the legislature, Davis was chief of staff to former S.C. governor Mark Sanford.
During his tenure in the S.C. Senate, the libertarian-leaning attorney has emerged as a rare independent, common sense voice for real reform – which has led to his name being discussed as a possible candidate for governor, or for a seat in the U.S. congress.
Davis, 59, has thus far declined invitations to seek higher office – contenting himself with advocating on behalf of his constituents in the Lowcountry, who for years had been getting shortchanged on their fair share of tax dollars.
On Monday, he announced he was seeking a fourth term in the Senate – where he vowed to continue “advancing solutions that will unlock (South Carolina’s potential in ways that promote prosperity, freedom and free markets.”
“I am passionate about effecting change to improve the lives of all South Carolinians,” Davis said. “But I also have a special obligation to the people of Beaufort and Jasper counties – to make sure they are treated equitably when the state decides how to spend our tax dollars. Before I was elected in 2008, our area wasn’t being treated fairly – but we are now.”
Despite his tendency to buck the establishment, Davis’ reelection bid received some praise from ranking Palmetto State Republicans – including a governor with whom he has occasionally sparred on fiscal issues.
“Tom Davis has the unique ability to explain the need for public policy change, to rally support in the General Assembly, and to then get the necessary legislation passed,” governor Henry McMaster said.
“Tom Davis is truly a champion for the people he represents – ensuring they get a fair deal from the General Assembly – and also for citizens and taxpayers across the state who want a more open and accountable government,” S.C. Senate president Harvey Peeler added. “He is respected by his colleagues in both chambers and by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for his principled, intelligent advocacy on behalf of what he believes.”
We concur …
He has taken heat for his principled advocacy, too.
Davis’ announcement release touted the support he has received from a diverse cross-section of interests, including legislator of the year honors from “a broad range of public advocacy groups, including the South Carolina Club for Growth and the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers (for fiscal conservatism and looking out for taxpayers), the Conservation Voters of South Carolina and Sierra Club South Carolina (for opposing offshore drilling, protecting the environment, and championing renewable energy), and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the South Carolina Public Health Association (for increasing access to healthcare, especially in rural areas).”
(Click to view)
(Via: Travis Bell Photography)
All 170 seats in the S.C. General Assembly (124 House seats and 46 Senate seats) are up for election this year – although as we have often noted very few of these races wind up being competitive.
This one will likely follow that trend considering Davis is tremendously popular with voters in Beaufort and Jasper counties. His GOP support is among the strongest of any state lawmaker, and his district is staunchly Republican – with 57.3 percent of voters supporting U.S. president Donald Trump in the most recent presidential election.
Candidate filing for legislative seats opens at 12:00 p.m. EDT on March 16, 2020 and closes at the same time on March 30. Partisan primary elections are scheduled for June 9, 2020 – with runoff elections scheduled for June 23, 2020, if necessary (if no candidate receives a majority of votes in a partisan primary election in South Carolina, the two top vote-getters advance to a head-to-head matchup two weeks later).
Once major party nominees are selected (and any petition candidates are certified), the general election is scheduled to take place on November 3, 2020.
While this news outlet is certainly happy to extend our open microphone to any candidate who decides to seek this seat, Davis has been the genuine article on behalf of freedom and free markets ever since he was elected … meaning we would be hard-pressed to consider endorsing anyone over him.
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