HeadlinesSC Politics

South Carolina Needs A Competitive Governor’s Race …

But it isn’t going to get one in 2022 …

Over the past six years, I have made my thoughts on South Carolina governor Henry McMaster (a.k.a. “Foghorn Guvnah”) abundantly clear. To recapitulate those thoughts succinctly: I am not a fan.

The guy is pure status quo. And those who launched him to the governor’s office and propped him up politically are … laboring under misapprehensions.

As I noted in a recent column, McMaster is a “Frat boy/ handshaker.”

A “Republican” relic.

An “empty suit rocking a multi-pointed 1990s pocket square.”

I have also referred to him as “some mouth-breathing extra” from Pappy O’Daniel’s entourage in the 2000 Coen Brothers ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?

But that’s just me talking trash …



More substantively, McMaster approved the largest tax hike in South Carolina history – and proposed blowing all of the recent Covid-19 stimulus on bigger government. He has also offered next-to-nothing in tax relief to the Palmetto State’s citizens and small businesses.

Is it any wonder job growth in South Carolina is evaporating?

What has he embraced? Crony capitalism … poorly, at that.

Despite kicking McMaster and his “shadow governor,” Trey Walker, in the balls (rhetorically) “on the reg,” many of my followers on left-leaning Twitter seem to think I am in the tank for him.

Why? Because I have (gasp) had similarly uncharitable things to say about his rival in this fall’s election, former U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham. A former “ocean engineer” (and lobbyist) from Kentucky, Cunningham’s campaign was in a hopeless electoral position from the get-go. And that was before he alienated black voters during a contentious Democratic primary (and then re-alienated them by choosing a white running mate for the general election).

Oh, and not just any white running mate … Tally Casey’s alleged love affair with mind-altering cacti (yes, you read that right) has the potential to sink Cunningham’s entire campaign.

(Click to view)

(Via: Forest and Kim Starr/ Flickr)

Well, this prickly situation would have the potential to sink Cunningham’s campaign if the Palmetto State’s mainstream media were even remotely impartial (seriously … honk or something if you think court papers accusing GOP lieutenant governor Pamela Evette of tripping on San Pedro would be ignored by the media).

In fairness, though, McMaster’s campaign already kind of screwed the pooch on the inebriation angle with his doofenschmirtz of a first television spot – negating the potential value of Casey’s alleged affinity for echinopsis pachanoi.

Also, who knows …

Maybe South Carolina leaders would make better decisions on mescaline?

They sure as hell couldn’t do much worse …

Anyway, left-leaning Twitter has similarly been rendered agog by my reporting on the polling in this race (see here and here). Apparently, failing to swallow the “electability” spin coming from the Cunningham campaign is grounds for cancellation on that platform.

But as Dave Chappelle famously said, “I don’t give a f*ck because Twitter’s not a real place.”

Anyway, Cunningham upped the ante on his “electability” earlier this week by telling a crowd of seventy-five people in Greenville, S.C. that his campaign’s most recent internal polling “indicated a tie” with McMaster, according to reporter Tim Carlin of The Greenville News.


(Click to view)

(Via: Columbia S.C. Photographers Travis Bell)

Really? Let’s consult FiveThirtyEight, shall we?

The website’s poli-geek bean counters simulated this race 100 times and Cunningham won just twice (including once by a margin of 0.1 percent).

I mean … I don’t really have to expend any energy debunking this spin, do I?

Cunningham also compared himself to triple crown winning racehorse American Pharoah at his Upstate gathering, saying the key to his success this fall would be the size of his heart.

“Our heart is a heart that beats for freedom,” Cunningham told the crowd.

Uhhh …

Unless, of course, your heart beats for freedom at the ballot box … in which case, Cunningham’s heart beats for something else entirely.

Let me be clear: I want a competitive race for governor of South Carolina. In fact, my news outlet has cried out for competitive elections for years.

As I noted in a post four years ago, a lack of competitive elections “denies voters real choices at the ballot box” and “not surprisingly, this lack of choice leads to a lack of accountability – which leads to a lack of progress on a host of fronts.”

I also want competitive elections because I’m in the news business. Closer races mean more clicks, more advertisers, more revenue, etc. Hell, maybe that’s why the mainstream press is regurgitating Cunningham’s demonstrably false statements that “the race is tied.”

Maybe they need it to be tied.

Is the race tied, though? No. Is it going to be tied? No.

Is it competitive? No. Is it going to be competitive? No.

Don’t get me wrong: McMaster is an absolutely terrible candidate. If any GOP candidate at the statewide level were ripe for defeat, it should absolutely be him. Hell, if the “conservative” incumbent didn’t have Trump repeatedly pulling his chestnuts out of the fire with the GOP electorate (see here and here), this 75-year-old career politician would have long ago lost his own party’s nomination.

But McMaster is the GOP nominee. Which in a statewide election in South Carolina means this race is over. And was over before it started.

Again, no Democrat has won a top-of-the-ticket race in the Palmetto State this millennium. The last to do so? The late Fritz Hollings, who bested former U.S. congressman Bob Inglis in 1998 to capture his final term in the U.S. Senate. No Democrat has won a statewide election in South Carolina since 2006 – when Jim Rex defeated Karen Floyd in the race for state superintendent of education (the closest statewide election in state history).

I get that Joe Cunningham, the mainstream press and “the Twitter” don’t like that that’s true … and I frankly wish it weren’t true myself. But as a certain man-sized manicotti from Grumpier Old Men once said, “you can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and see which gets filled first.”

Tweet that …



(Via: FITSNews)

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 many hats – including that St. Louis Cardinals’ lid (with matching Stan Musial jersey) pictured above.



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