Last week’s abrupt resignation of South Carolina state representative Alan Clemmons – submitted scarcely a month after he won a contested primary for another two-year term in office – has sparked all sorts of discussion. People in his adopted hometown of Myrtle Beach, S.C. (and at the S.C. State House in Columbia) want to know the “real reason” Clemmons stepped down.
Clearly, no one believes the stated excuse that the veteran lawmaker intends to spend more time “with my family and at my law practice.”
According to our sources, Clemmons has reportedly reached an agreement with the Horry county legislative delegation to receive an appointment as master-in-equity for the coastal county.
This position has been held since April 1, 2009 by Cynthia Graham Howe, who is reportedly ready to step down when her term ends in July 2021.
As our readers are well aware, Clemmons has been trying (unsuccessfully) for months to land a local government gig … although it is not immediately clear what is motivating his efforts.
One of our sources on the coast speculated Clemmons was eying the $180,000 annual taxpayer-funded salary received by the master-in-equity – which would “increase his retirement from state government accordingly.”
“(It) has nothing to do with spending more time with his family or law practice,” the source told us.
Multiple sources in the S.C. General Assembly confirmed this was indeed the position Clemmons told them he was seeking when he announced he was stepping down.
As for Clemmons’ replacement, there is not enough time for voters to elect someone to fill the unexpired portion of his current term – however a race will be held to replace him on the November 2020 ballot.
After the S.C. Election Commission (SCVotes.org) met and deemed Clemmons’ resignation was for “legitimate, non-political” reasons on Monday, it set the dates for this expedited special election.
Filing for this race will open at noon on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 (a week from today) and will close a week later – at noon on August 4, 2020. Partisan primary elections will be held on August 18, 2020 – with runoffs (if necessary) slated for September 1, 2020.
No Democrats filed for this seat during the partisan primary period in March. On the Republican side, Clemmons defeated attorney Case Brittain in a fiercely contested primary election. Brittain, incidentally, has confirmed to this news outlet that he will be a candidate in the expedited special election.
(Click to view)
(Via: Case Brittain for S.C. House)
Brittain (above) drew 41.5 percent of the primary vote against Clemmons. He will have a huge advantage over other prospective GOP challengers considering he just spent several months (and more than $75,000) campaigning for this seat.
Clemmons, 61, has represented S.C. House District 107 (map) since 2003. A fiscal liberal, he has spent much of his time in the legislature lobbying on behalf of Israel – including a controversial budget provision criminalizing alleged anti-semitism that many believe is a violation of the First Amendment.
Clemmons has also found himself under scrutiny of late for botching a major civil asset forfeiture reform initiative … and for organizing a controversial “Egyptian vacation” for multiple lawmakers last October.
In addition to his own campaign finance issues, Clemmons was among the beneficiaries of a controversial effort by the SCGOP to actively meddle in its own partisan primary elections – the first election cycle we can recall to feature such interference in an ostensibly neutral candidate selection process.
In addition to freeing up his legislative seat, Clemmons resignation also means a seat is available on the influential S.C. House ways and means committee – which gets first crack at drafting the state budget each year.
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