SC Politics

SC 2020: Lexington County House Race Gets Testy

Midlands legislative race heats up …

When former South Carolina state senator Jake Knotts opted not to campaign in the Republican primary for S.C. House District 88 (.pdf), we were disappointed. While we have little in common ideologically with the fiscally liberal ex-lawmaker, he would have brought all sorts of color to this contest …

And would have no doubt sent our click-counters through the roof …

As it stands, we are left with some garden variety political jabbing between the candidates who did file to fill the seat being vacated by longtime “Republican” Mac Toole. That field includes local businessman Brian Duncan, pastor John Lastiger of Lexington, West Columbia, S.C. political strategist R.J. May III, Army retiree Eddie McCain and Lexington county businessman and former S.C. Senate candidate Mike Sturkie.

May went on the offensive this week targeting the candidate he clearly believes to be his biggest impediment to victory – Sturkie.

May’s campaign released a document (.pdf) this week entitled “Mike Sturkie’s History of Fiscal Recklessness.” According to the campaign, the document “details (Sturkie’s) 30-plus year history of reckless financial behavior” including “IRS and state tax liens, bankruptcy, unpaid bills (and) civil judgements.”

The document “demonstrates an ongoing pattern of fiscal irresponsibility stretching back to the 1980s,” the May campaign concluded.

“These disturbing revelations of decades of fiscal recklessness call into question Mr. Sturkie’s ability to safeguard taxpayer dollars,” May said in a statement. “Voters deserve an explanation of how he could possibly put Columbia’s fiscal house in order when he can’t keep his own that way. I challenge Mr. Sturkie to stop hiding from his record and debate.”

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

Sturkie (above) wasted little time in responding. According to campaign strategist Jon Parker, May’s broadside was a “smoke and mirrors” move from a “now-desperate campaign operative who is watching his dream of being a real live politician go down the drain.”

Yeah … they don’t pull punches in Lexington county.

“I am starting to get concerned that the pressure of the campaigning in ‘Coronaworld’ might be getting to R.J. (as) he’s been acting erratically,” Parker continued. “As someone else who has made a career in political campaigning I’ve known R.J. May for a long time, and I’m sure he’s seeing the same things I’m seeing in House District 88 – Hundreds, literally hundreds of yard signs in supportors’ yards and a groundswell of support for Mike Sturkie.”

Parker wasn’t done …

“(May) has spent more money and he has sent out twice as much, if not more, mail as all the other campaigns but hasn’t been able to really gain any traction,” he said. “So now he’s launching desperate attacks that fall really flat. Mike Sturkie is a successful businessman. Everyone in the community knows this.  Unlike R.J., he has actually personally created a lot of jobs for people.”

As for the allegation Sturkie was dodging a debate, Parker said “no group has asked us or any other candidate to debate.”

“No candidate, not ONE of the FIVE, have said they wouldn’t debate,” Parker said. “They couldn’t have because there is no debate to say no to!”

Partisan primary elections are scheduled for June 9, 2020 – with runoff elections held on 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).




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