At a time when South Carolina senator Luke Rankin should have been standing up for his constituents, he was busy sucking up to a scandal-scarred, debt-addled government-run utility that robbed coastal voters blind over the past decade during the NukeGate debacle.
Seriously: Shutting down government to make sure this corrupt utility could continue ripping off ratepayers?
That’s exactly what Rankin did … which was sad but not surprising considering his long history of slavish subservience to Santee Cooper, one of the utilities that plunged the Palmetto State headfirst into NukeGate – a $10 billion (and counting) command economic disaster.
Leading the way at every step of the NukeGate fleecing? Rankin – a “former” Democrat who never stopped voting in lockstep with his liberal allies in the S.C. Senate.
On Tuesday evening, Rankin was held accountable – to a degree – for his ongoing treachery by Republican voters in Horry county.
Can they finish the job?
South Carolina taxpayers can only hope so …
In a three-way race for S.C. Senate District 33 (.pdf) on Tuesday night, Rankin drew 40.2 percent of the GOP primary vote (4,915 ballots) compared to 34.4 percent (4,210 ballots) for challenger John Gallman and 25.4 percent (3,105) for challenger Carter Smith.
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Given the massive financial advantage Rankin enjoyed over his two rivals, this outcome truly surprised us. We fully expected the seventh-term lawmaker to claim the nomination outright on Tuesday evening.
He didn’t, though. And because no candidate received a majority of votes in the first round of balloting, Rankin and Gallman advanced to a head-to-head runoff election scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, 2020. With no Democrats (well, other than Rankin) seeking this office, the winner of that matchup will be a virtual lock to claim this office in November.
We hope Rankin goes down in defeat in that runoff … hard.
“If Rankin gets another term in office, expect him to continue serving those interests (and himself),” we wrote last month. “Not his constituents. And certainly not the people of South Carolina.”
Rankin is the very personification of a status quo Palmetto politician. Don’t believe us? Just look at who is pulling his strings …
As we noted back in February, aside from powerful S.C. Senate finance chairman Hugh Leatherman, “we cannot think of any sitting member of the Senate who has done more over the past decade to hold the Palmetto State back from reaching its full potential (while simultaneously enriching themselves in the process).”
Just this week, a national conservative group released a new scorecard which revealed that Rankin is literally the most liberal Republican member of the South Carolina Senate – voting with conservatives in the chamber just 24 percent of the time.
That is saying something considering the same scorecard determined the “Republican-controlled” S.C. General Assembly (and the Senate in particular) was the most liberal GOP legislature anywhere in the nation.
We fully expect Rankin to receive a huge influx of special interest support over the next two weeks from his liberal allies – who are desperate to keep him ensconced in his powerful perch as S.C. Senate judiciary committee chairman. And obviously Santee Cooper and its allies are desperate to keep Rankin in office, too.
Will it be enough to save him?
Let’s hope not …
Just as we are finally beginning to see some criminal accountability for NukeGate, it is past time there was some political accountability for it as well. And as we have noted for years, no member of the S.C. General Assembly is more responsible for NukeGate than Rankin.
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