A Florence, South Carolina businessman and community volunteer has announced his candidacy to fill the S.C. Senate seat vacated earlier this month by the passing of powerful legislative leader Hugh Leatherman. The fiscally liberal “godfather of pork” left behind a legacy of anti-competitiveness on multiple fronts, but he was an institution in the Pee Dee region of the Palmetto State – representing Florence County for more than four decades.
Did his influence benefit the region? Eh …
By law, the vacancy created by Leatherman’s death triggers a special election for S.C. Senate District 31 (.pdf). That process will begin on Friday, December 3, 2021 when filing opens for partisan primaries. A special primary election will be held on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 with the special election itself scheduled for March 29, 2022.
Whoever emerges victorious will hold this seat through the end of Leatherman’s unexpired term (i.e. the end of 2024). The next regular election – schedule to coincide with the 2024 presidential race – will use updated district boundaries.
The first candidate to enter the fray? Mike Reichenbach, the former chairman of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce (GFCC).
Reichenbach announced his candidacy on Tuesday via a three-minute video posted to YouTube …
(Click to view)
According to a release from Reichenbach’s campaign, the video highlights his “unwavering commitment to conservative principles, including protecting the sanctity of life of the unborn, supporting law enforcement, and adhering to fiscal responsibility.”
It also “shares how his conservative principles have been solidified in his life,” specifically his personal narrative of “being born to a scared 14-year old girl who got pregnant and chose life” and being adopted and raised “by two loving parents who instilled in him the values of respect, hard work and personal responsibility.”
Reichenbach wants Florence county voters “to give him – a political outsider, businessman, and job creator – a try for the future of the region and state.”
Reichenbach’s announcement touted his pro-business credentials, but it also listed a number of bureaucratic/ crony capitalist entities as notches on his résumé. Which certainly puts a damper on the whole “outsider” angle. The announcement also touted his “journey” as a businessman “balancing budgets, making payroll and creating hundreds of jobs in the region” – but offered little in the way of specifics as to how he would apply those principles to a bloated state budget.
The extent to which Reichenbach fills in these particulars will go a long way in determining his commitment to freedom and free markets – the two barometers by which I encourage readers to assess candidates for elected office at all levels.
One positive note? Reichenbach vowed to “oppose any measure to defund or weaken our police, sheriff, or other law enforcement.”
Which is consistent with my views on the core functionality of government …
While he got the jump on his competition, Reichenbach won’t have the stage to himself for long. Numerous candidates are expected to file for this seat on both the “Republican” and Democratic side of the ledger (to the extent there is a difference between these two labels in the Palmetto State).
Stay tuned for those announcements in the coming days as the filing period for this seat draws nigh …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Washington Nationals’ lid pictured above).
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