State House

Powerful South Carolina Legislative Leader’s Ouster Certified

Uniparty leader’s defeat is official …

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The ouster of powerful South Carolina labor, commerce and industry (LCI) chairman Bill Sandifer from the S.C. House of Representatives has been confirmed by his local election commission – and the final margin, while narrow, was sufficient to avoid a recount.

Oconee election officials have certified last Tuesday’s partisan primary election results, giving Adam Duncan a stunning upset victory over Sandifer – who has been in the S.C. General Assembly since 1994 (and has led the LCI committee for nearly two decades).

Duncan – whose candidacy was backed by the S.C. Freedom Caucus – is running unopposed in the general election for this staunchly GOP district in November.

With all primary ballots cast, counted and certified, Duncan received 2,586 votes in last week’s low-turnout election – good for 50.61 percent. Sandifer received 2,524 votes, or 49.39 percent of the vote. Because that 62-vote margin exceeded (albeit barely) the one percent threshold, there will be no recount.

In South Carolina, races in which the margin of victory is less than one percent are automatically recounted.

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Sandifer has been making noise about challenging the results of the contest – however the certification of the outcome (and the fact it is outside of the recount margin) is likely to shut that process down.

Sandifer, 79, of Seneca, S.C., has had a scandalous history in the legislature (see here and here), but has somehow managed to hone his cockroach-level survival skills and remain in office.

To say the defeat displeased the notoriously thin-skinned legislative leader would be an understatement …

“Hope Oconee doesn’t need anything in the future,” he told his local paper.

That statement prompted a stern rebuke from his fellow lawmaker, Thomas Beach.

“Bill Sandifer (is) saying the quiet part out loud,” Beach wrote on X. “This is a perfect example of the mindset of too many South Carolina legislators. They look down on the people they’re supposed to serve. They feel entitled to your votes, like you owe it to them to re-elect them. And they’re willing to bribe, threaten, blackmail and gaslight their constituents to try to keep what they think belongs to them alone. It’s time to get rid of the ‘Entitled Establishment’ in South Carolina. We’re well on our way.”

That’s true. To wit: Sandifer’s loss is also ratcheting up the pressure on S.C. House speaker Murrell Smith – who is being blamed for the failure of the GOP establishment to oust even a single member of the Freedom Caucus in last week’s elections (despite spending more than $2 million in dark money against them).

Wait … a “Republican” leader spent $2 million in dark money targeting conservative lawmakers within his own party for defeat?

Yes …

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RELATED | MURRELL SMITH’S BIGGEST PROBLEM

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According to our sources, Sandifer is blaming the speaker for failing to protect him – and for blowing resources that could have meant the difference in his race on the defense of S.C. House assistant majority leader Jay West instead. Like Sandifer, West was also defeated by a Freedom Caucus challenger last week.

While Sandifer’s defeat is official, there was a recount in another Upstate legislative district. In S.C. House District 28 – a Greenville County seat currently held by Freedom Caucus member Ashley Trantham – local pastor Chris Huff received 1,493 votes (or 38.18 percent of all ballots cast). Because Huff did not win a majority of votes, though, state law dictates he face off against the second-place finisher next Tuesday (June 25, 2024).

Until this week, it was unclear exactly which candidate would face Huff as challengers Kerri Smith and Allen Kellett were separated by just eight votes. A recount confirmed Smith received 749 votes – or 19.16 percent of all ballots cast. That was just enough to edge Kellett – who got 741 votes (or 18.95 percent of ballots cast) – for a spot in the runoff.

This media outlet previously endorsed Huff in its editorial rebuking the Palmetto State’s ruling uniparty.

Count on us to keep our audience apprised of the latest South Carolina political developments as we track the fallout from last week’s partisan primary voting – and keep an eye on the handful of races which are yet to be decided.

BANNER: Travis Bell Columbia SC Photographers

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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1 comment

davismcclam Top fan June 17, 2024 at 2:25 pm

Yep,all them friends he had in Columbia have no use for him now.

Reply

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