Reopen South Carolina Debate Hits Campaign Trail

The coronavirus and its fallout is finally filtering into political campaigns …

The ongoing debate over when and how to reopen South Carolina’s economy (and society) in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to spill over into the state’s political campaigns. And with partisan primary elections less than forty days away, things are starting to get heated.

One of the few competitive races in the Palmetto State is the battle for S.C. House District 117 (.pdf) – a seat currently held by first-term Democrat Krystle Matthews. An engineer at Boeing, Matthews defeated four-term incumbent Republican Bill Crosby of North Charleston, S.C. in November 2018.

Crosby is running again in 2020 in the hopes of reclaiming this seat, but before he gets another shot at Matthews he must first defeat conservative activist Jordan Pace of Goose Creek, S.C.

Pace is pushing hard for the Palmetto State to reopen, arguing that “hurting families and small businesses can’t afford to wait any longer.”

“When the coronavirus arrived, few knew what this pandemic would bring with it,” Pace wrote in a guest column submitted to our news outlet on Monday morning. “Without solid information or historical precedent to guide, governor Henry McMaster took prudent actions in line with President Trump’s leadership. I agreed with those important steps. South Carolinians are good neighbors and did what was necessary to flatten the curve. Their response prevented our hospitals from being overwhelmed.”

Now, though, Pace believes the time has come to unwind some of those restrictions.

According to Pace, the coronavirus “turned out not to be the worst-case scenario we feared.”

“The greatest danger to both our livelihoods and our lives may be the unintended consequences of shutting down huge parts of our economy,” he said.

We concur …

(Click to view)

(Via: S.C. Governor)

We editorialized in favor of McMaster (above) reopening broad swaths of the economy early last week – and the governor responded by lifting some of the state’s most onerous restrictions on Friday.

We suspect the push to reopen the state will continue gaining momentum this week – even as the death toll associated with the pandemic ticked up markedly for most of last week.

Why are people willing to take the risk? Because as Pace noted, the economic consequences of not reopening (here and here) are simply too great.

For the last two months, the coronavirus has transcended politics. Coverage of the virus has dominating all other issues – effectively muting the campaign conversations usually taking place at this time of year. Meanwhile, politicians (or aspiring ones) have been reticent to engage the unpredictable issue from a policy perspective – fearful of going “all in” on a losing hand.

Cleary, that reticence is fading …

This news outlet has been covering the impact of the coronavirus on South Carolina from the very beginning. Count on us to continue keeping our readers informed as its impact now begins to be felt in political races across the state.

Partisan primary elections are scheduled for June 9, 2020 – thirty-eight days from now. For multi-candidate primary races in which no candidate receives a majority of votes on the first ballot, runoff elections between the two top vote-getters are scheduled for June 23, 2020. The general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.




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