South Carolina Senate majority leader Shane Massey touted his leadership on a contentious piece of pro-life legislation this week, fueling speculation that he is mounting a campaign for governor of the Palmetto State in 2022 (whether incumbent “Republican” Henry McMaster runs or not).
Massey – who played an instrumental role in putting the so-called “heartbeat bill” at the top of the S.C. Senate’s 2021 agenda – sent out a text message on Thursday eliciting support for his efforts just hours before the GOP-controlled chamber passed the bill.
“Hi, this is S.C. Sen(ate) GOP leader Shane Massey,” the message stated. “The heartbeat bill received a second reading in the State Senate yesterday. We need a third reading TODAY to help stop abortions in South Carolina.”
The text messages – which were sent to an undisclosed list of recipients – linked respondents to a GOP caucus web page which encouraged them to “protect the sanctity of life.”
The web page featured a picture of Massey speaking from the floor of the Senate, attributing the following quote to him …
“The most important thing we can do as state lawmakers is to protect the sanctity of life. The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection From Abortion Act will help stop abortion in our state.”
Beneath Massey’s quote, readers were directed to an email submission form which encouraged them to contact their lawmakers – along with social media links to help them advertise their advocacy.
In covering the heartbeat bill earlier this week, we spoke with several state senators who told us Massey was “using the issue to ingratiate himself with social conservative voters in the South Carolina Upstate” as a prelude to running for governor.
Looks like they were correct …
In that same article, we noted how Massey’s decision to advance the legislation was “surprising” considering how he recently acknowledged that the heartbeat bill was “clearly unconstitutional under current interpretation” and that defending it would require a “lengthy and expensive court battle.”
Make no mistake: This news outlet’s editorial position on life over the past decade-and-a-half is clear: We are pro-life. In fact, we believe life is the “indispensable liberty,” and in addition to defending it we have railed against the evils of abortion on demand. Accordingly, we support this legislation – although we have some reservations over the law enforcement reporting requirements related to the bill’s rape and incest exemptions (both of which we have also consistently supported).
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Massey was the one who included the law enforcement reporting requirements in the legislation, by the way.
We will obviously keep an eye on this bill as it makes its way through the legislative process – just as we will follow the inevitable federal court challenge that will greet it in the event it becomes law.
Meanwhile, we will keep tabs on the political hay Massey continues to make on this issue as he looks to expand his political profile beyond his rural S.C. Senate district and the echo chamber of the S.C. State House.
In fact, Massey was scheduled to speak on Thursday evening to the Pickens county Republican party – one of several Upstate GOP events reportedly on his schedule in the next few days.
One thing is clear: Massey has joined Upstate businessman John Warren (update here) and S.C. lieutenant governor Pamela Evette (update here) on the growing list of 2022 GOP gubernatorial contenders who clearly are not waiting on McMaster to decide whether he is running for reelection.
As of this writing, the 73-year-old incumbent was still “in” for 2022 – but his political strength has been severely sapped by his ongoing mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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