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Coastal South Carolina Special Election Could Get Crowded

Two Republicans are “in,” a third is considering a bid …

The recent resignation of South Carolina state representative Alan Clemmons came too close to the November 3, 2020 general election for voters in S.C. House District 107 (.pdf) to elect someone to fill the remainder of his term.

Does that matter? Yes …

This seat will now be vacant when state lawmakers return to Columbia, S.C. later this fall to address any number of pernicious coronavirus-related budget realities (including the ongoing hemorrhaging of tourism revenue and jobs).

Of course in light of Clemmons’ track record in office, an empty seat is an upgrade …

Anyway, while there is no time to fill Clemmons’ term – there will be a special election to replace him on the 2020 ballot. Filing for that race opened at noon on Tuesday (July 28, 2020) and is set to close at the same time on August 4, 2020.

Partisan primary elections will be held just two weeks later – on August 18, 2020 – with runoffs slated for September 1, 2020, if necessary. The winners of the partisan primary process will appear on the November ballot on behalf of their respective parties.

On the Republican side, Myrtle Beach, S.C. attorney Case Brittain – who registered 41.5 percent of the primary vote against Clemmons in last month’s GOP primary election – has signaled he will be a candidate in the special election. Meanwhile, former Myrtle Beach, S.C. mayor Mark McBride announced his plans to run on social media this week.

Former Horry county councilman Randal Wallace – who lost his bid for reelection in 2017 after championing a controversial tourism tax – may also jump into the fray.

“I am certainly concerned about the future of the tourism development initiative,” Wallace told this news outlet. “We worked hard years ago to develop a way to remain competitive through an economic crisis and then grow our tourism industry to what it has become today.”

No Democrats filed for this seat during the spring primary season – and it is not clear whether the party intends to field a candidate in this abbreviated special election.

We will be sure to let our readers know who ultimately does – and doesn’t – file by the August 4 deadline.

This “coastal urban” district – which stretches along the Grand Strand from Surfside Beach to North Myrtle Beach (encompassing the Myrtle Beach city limits) – had been represented by Clemmons since 2003. Unfortunately, the fiscally liberal lawmaker spent much of that time lobbying on behalf of Israel – including pushing for the passage of a controversial budget provision that criminalized alleged anti-semitism (a prima facie violation of the First Amendment, in our view).

Clemmons also botched a major civil asset forfeiture reform initiative … and landed in hot water over his involvement in a controversial “Egyptian vacation” for multiple lawmakers last October. More recently, the 61-year-old lawyer was accused of some serious campaign finance allegations – which he personally refuted in a letter to the editor of this news outlet.

Clemmons was also a staunch supporter of Santee Cooper – the Palmetto State’s catastrophically mismanaged government-run utility. In fact, his loss deprives the utility of arguably its most important ally in the S.C. House of Representatives.

Since his resignation, Clemmons was appointed to a state revenue panel. The diminutive politician is also reportedly in line to become master-in-equity for Horry county.




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