Nearly twenty members of the South Carolina House of Representatives’ “Republican” caucus may not be part of that organization for much longer … assuming a group of establishment GOP lawmakers get their way, that is.
This news outlet previously reported (here and here) on some drama that went down during the House’s organizational session last month regarding a so-called “loyalty oath.” This oath – which is being pushed by new “Republican” majority leader Davey Hiott of Pickens County and S.C. speaker pro tempore Tommy Pope – would prohibit members from endorsing or campaigning on behalf of anyone challenging a GOP incumbent in next spring’s primary elections.
It would also prohibit lawmakers from posting images of the House’s electronic voting board on their social media pages – and from discussing the “internal processes” behind House votes during public appearances.
Basically it’s an incumbent protection ultimatum – accompanied by a muzzle.
I made my thoughts on this oath perfectly clear during a recent episode of our popular ‘Week in Review‘ program, referring to the lawmakers who signed its as “cowards” and accusing them of “surrendering their ability to represent (constituents) effectively by basically saying that they are going to march in lockstep with the GOP leadership.”
“That is not the kind of leader you want representing you in Columbia,” I noted.
According to my sources, eighteen (18) members of the House “Republican” caucus refused to sign the oath given the draconian restrictions it would have placed on their right to share information with their constituents.
And good for them …
Here’s hoping they retain the courage of those convictions when House members gather this Tuesday afternoon at the state capital for the convening of the 125th regular session of the S.C. General Assembly.
As I noted previously, a so-called “extreme moderate” coalition of between 25-30 ostensibly “centrist” GOP lawmakers are pushing to have the eighteen conservatives who failed to sign the oath kicked out of the caucus. This group is reportedly being led by Hiott, Pope, Jay West of Belton and Micah Caskey of West Columbia.
Meanwhile, a similarly sized group of lawmakers led by newly elected speaker Murrell Smith – the highest-ranking member of the chamber – favors finding a resolution with the “rogue” conservatives.
Smith’s group has reportedly lost that battle, though, which has weakened the chamber’s new leader before the House even gavels to order for the coming.
“Republicans” occupy 88 out of 124 seats in the House – or 70.9 percent of the of the chamber. The S.C. Senate – which is on the cusp of a GOP supermajority – was not on the ballot in 2022. Its members will face voters in 2024.
What has the GOP done with its unchecked authority? Easy: Make things worse. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the state’s economy is not moving in the right direction (see here and here). Nor are its schools (see here). Nor are its communities (see here).
All of these atrocious outcomes have been “achieved” despite gargantuan new taxpayer investments in government … expenditures which have fueled the perpetuation of an antiquated, corrupt and duplicative bureaucracy which does all sorts of things government has no business doing (like running power companies, ports and hospitals, etc.).
Not surprisingly, the SCGOP-controlled General Assembly has ranked as the most liberal “Republican-controlled” state legislature in America three years running.
Make no mistake: This “loyalty oath” is about nothing more than silencing those members of the legislature who want things to change.
House “Republicans” are scheduled to meet tomorrow (Tuesday, January 10, 2023) immediately upon the adjournment of the S.C. House – which gavels to order at 12:00 p.m. EST. Count on this news outlet to provide our readers with an update on what transpires at that gathering.
Hopefully all eighteen lawmakers hold firm in their commitment to their constituents, not the party bosses who have presided over decades of failed, fiscally liberal “Republican” rule.
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.
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