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Palmetto Political Stock Index: 3/17/2023

Tracking political, presidential fortunes in the “First in the South” Palmetto State …

The game is afoot, as Sherlock Holmes would say. With South Carolina Democratic and Republican presidential primaries mere months away, “First in the South” fever is officially here – and official (and unofficial) campaigning has begun ramping up in earnest in the Palmetto State.

That makes now the perfect time to unveil our latest project: The FITSNews Political Stock Index.

Every Friday, we’ll track the performance of various candidates (actual and prospective) angling to make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue their next home. We’ll also update the performance of South Carolina politicos making moves which could shape the future of their state – and also impact the ever-changing ‘First in the South’ presidential calculus.



The index is compiled weekly by our founding editor Will Folks and our intrepid columnist Mark Powell. Got a hot “stock tip” for their consideration? Email Will ([email protected]) and Mark ([email protected]) and make sure to include “political stock index” in the subject line.

Which politicos saw their stocks soar this past week? Which ones cratered? Which ones were just treading water? Find out where you should invest your “political capital” in this fast, fun weekly recap …

To the index!




Biden’s “non-bailout” bailout of Silicon Valley Bank depositors may have played well with his progressive base, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their fury over his administration’s green-lighting of ConocoPhillips’ Arctic Willow oil drilling project. Is it fence-mending time for the chief executive?  Also, that “non-bailout” talking point doesn’t seem to be selling elsewhere … with conservatives ripping Biden for running “a corrupt Bonnie and Clyde” operation out of the White House.

Oh, and did we mention there’s a very real possibility World War III breaks out over the Black Sea? Yeah … it’s been a bad week for Biden.




DeSantis’ foray into early-voting Iowa last weekend drew mixed reviews ranging from cheers to yawns. Palmetto pols now wonder: What will the reaction be when the Sunshine State governor pays his next “First in the South” visit? DeSantis backers are ramping up their activities in South Carolina and other early-voting states, but the old expression hearing it “from the horse’s mouth” comes to mind.

DeSantis has said he will decide on a presidential bid after the Florida General Assembly concludes its business in May of 2023 – meaning South Carolina GOP voters could be seeing a lot of him this spring and summer.




Despite an uneven start to her presidential debut (and the absolute pillorying she received from conservative media), this much is certain: The nearly 1,000-person crowd Haley drew Monday night in Myrtle Beach, S.C. proves she can still ‘wow’ the folks back home.

Haley also received plaudits from this news outlet’s founding editor for her substantive stance on entitlements, an issue frontrunners DeSantis and U.S. president Donald Trump appear unwilling to address.




Asa … who? Exactly. The fact Hutchinson is on this index at all is a sign he is doing something right. For now. Generally (and accurately) regarded as a blip on the presidential radar, Hutchinson’s function in this race appears to be to tell evangelicals in South Carolina that they need to move on from Trump.

How will he fare at that task? And how long can that support a prospective presidential bid? We will have a report on that following his appearance at a social conservative gathering in Charleston, S.C. this weekend …




The former Veep provoked the Manufactured Outrage crowd’s ire by poking fun of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the Gridiron Club dinner. (Note to the Woke Left: Lighten up! Gridiron is all about laughs.) But was a lame joke that wasn’t all that funny really worth the headache?  

Pence did at least stick to his guns, telling a GOP crowd in New Hampshire “the only thing I can figure is Pete Buttigieg not only can’t do his job, but he can’t take a joke.”




The former U.S. congressman launched a consulting firm this week, but to the extent anyone paid it any attention it wasn’t “good attention.” Citing his ability to “build coalitions,” Cunningham is hoping to rake in the big, sweet dollars – but this news outlet reminded readers he did the precise opposite of that during his historic defeat in last fall’s South Carolina gubernatorial election.

Seriously, the only thing interesting about this guy is his ex-wife ... and the last time we checked, Democratic “deciderers” in South Carolina were not eager to hear his expertise on, well, anything.




The Palmetto State’s top prosecutor is still feeling the momentum from his office’s victorious verdict in South Carolina’s ‘Trial of the Century,’ the double homicide trial of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh earlier this month.

Wilson was already the 2026 GOP gubernatorial frontrunner … but his position at the head of the pack has been solidified by this victory, which featured him showing off his skills as a prosecutor.




South Carolina’s 74-year-old comptroller general is very close to being thrown out of office by state lawmakers over a $3.5 billion accounting error. Wait … can they do that to an independently elected constitutional officer? It certainly looks like they can … and are.

In other words, we may not be seeing Eckstrom on future installments of this feature …




In years past, political candidates (presidential or otherwise) could not win in South Carolina without the backing of the social conservative movement. Those days are fading fast … and the last thing the evangelical base needed heading into 2024 was a scandal at its most prominent advocacy organization.

It’s not immediately clear what transpired at Palmetto Family this month, but whatever it was happened just days before the organization was scheduled to host its Vision ’24 forum in Charleston, S.C.



Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.


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Joy Gmmon Top fan March 18, 2023 at 8:33 am

I hope none of the above has a chance.

Mark Buyck III Top fan March 18, 2023 at 9:28 am


Appius Top fan March 20, 2023 at 8:42 am

Trump does seem to be an interesting missing candidate on the index.

Totally disagree with Meatball Ron’s assessment. After his “territorial dispute” gaff (I tend to lean more in that realm, personally, and was glad to see it) the conservative media sphere, read National Review and the rump of the NeoCons – The Bulwark – have been pillorying DeSanctimonious endlessly. And those are the only people that actually like him.

That seems like falling stock to me. Sell now. Don’t even hold. I didn’t even mention the pants tucked into his immaculate white boots picture and nasally, elite-educated voice. Low-energy Jeb! Bush vibes.


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