SC Politics

Coastal SC Dispatches: Luke Rankin’s Race Ratchets Up Further

Six-figure television and mail blitz targets John Gallman, meanwhile Nikki Haley leans in behind the scenes …

Besieged state senator Luke Rankin – the personification of South Carolina’s failed tax-and-spend status quo and the lead architect of its most costly command economic failure – appears to be in real trouble in his bid to win an eighth term representing S.C. Senate District 33 (.pdf).

According to our sources, the powerful Senate judiciary chairman was still trailing his rival John Gallman in the polls even after details of Gallman’s messy (and allegedly abusive) prior marriage were splashed all over the newspapers in Horry county earlier this week.

Is this surprising? No …

In a three-way primary race for this seat on June 9, 2020, Rankin drew an anemic 40.2 percent of the GOP primary vote (4,915 ballots) compared to 34.4 percent (4,210 ballots) for Gallman and 25.4 percent (3,105) for challenger Carter Smith.

That was a weaker-than-expected showing for the “former” Democrat, who has certainly not been acting like a frontrunner of late …

(Click to view)

(Via: Gallman for S.C. Senate)

With Gallman (above) on the verge of a stunning upset that would have seismic ramifications across the Palmetto political landscape, special interest money has flooded into Horry county on behalf of Rankin – whose own dirty laundry remains hidden under a court-ordered seal, incidentally.

Thanks to judges Rankin appoints …

The most liberal GOP member of the S.C. General Assembly is currently on the receiving end of a massive special interest campaign … one hellbent on preserving his powerful perch at the S.C. State House in Columbia, S.C.

“Powerful interests in Columbia are not going to let Rankin lose this seat,” one source familiar with this effort told us last week. “There is simply too much at stake for them.”

Apparently they are willing to spend whatever it takes to keep Rankin in office, too …

Specifically, the 57-year-old trial lawyer is the beneficiary of a six-figure television and mail campaign (launched on Friday afternoon) targeting Gallman on the domestic violence allegations that have rocked his candidacy.

Gallman was never arrested or charged with a crime in connection with these allegations, but family court documents published earlier this week The (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Sun News paint a most disturbing picture of his conduct.

Sources tell us Rankin’s divorce drama is every bit as salacious as Gallman’s – if not more so – but again, all of those court records have been placed under a seal owing to the powerful senator’s unrivaled influence over the judicial branch of government in the Palmetto State.

Is that fair? Of course not … but it is par for the course in South Carolina, where powerful politicians literally make their own rules (and pick the judges who enforce them). Which means those with connections get to have their secrets hidden (see herehereherehere and here) while the rest of us have to “read all about it” when we screw up.

(Click to view)

(Via: U.S. State Department)

In other news related to this race, former S.C. governor Nikki Haley – who tried (and failed) to take out Rankin four years ago – has reportedly been involved behind the scenes on behalf of Gallman, reaching out to supporters of Rankin and trying to get them to “flip” their endorsements.

So far, Haley’s efforts have met with little success …

This news outlet is not endorsing in this election. As we noted in a post yesterday, “our hope was that this race would end with one candidate challenging the other to a duel … and both candidates being deadeye shots.”

Having said that, we believe conditions for South Carolina citizens and taxpayers would improve markedly if Rankin were no longer occupying multiple positions of influence within state government …

Rankin “personifies the failed, self-serving status quo in Columbia … (a)nd has for years,” we wrote earlier this week.

More than a decade after his starring role as the primary architect of the NukeGate disaster, Rankin is still doing the bidding of failed government-run utility Santee Cooper – a rogue agency which continues thumbing its nose at Palmetto State lawmakers, ratepayers and taxpayers.

As we noted in a post 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)” than Rankin.




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