Multiple media sources are reporting that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will indeed name Rep. Tim Scott to be the next senator from South Carolina.
Scott will serve for two years, and then presumably run in a special election in 2014. If reelected, he would serve an additional two years (the remaining two years of the six-year term Jim DeMint was elected to in 2010) and then potentially run again for a full-six year term in 2016.
Tim Scott will instantly become a major figure in the GOP, as the lone African-American Republican in Congress. (The symbolism of Scott representing the home state of Strom Thurmond in the Senate, after beating Thurmond’s son in his first U.S. House race, is quite powerful.) He is a genuine rising star in South Carolina politics, with Southern charisma to spare, punctuating his Obama critiques this past year with bursts of “hit the road, Jack.”
But South Carolina doesn’t lack Republicans with ambition, and those who aspire to the Senate will have a choice in 2014: challenge the appointed Sen. Tim Scott (and run the risk of a white challenger unseating the party’s the lone black representative) or take on the other incumbent, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has periodically irked conservatives over the years but also spent recent years trying to win those conservative constituents back.
South Carolina does not get polled often, but Public Policy Polling found this month that 47 percent have a favorable opinion of Tim Scott, only 13 percent unfavorable, and 40 percent unsure.
UPDATE: I’m hearing that DeMint is likely to formally resign the Senate on Jan. 2 and that Scott, along with all of the other new senators who were elected in November, will be sworn in on Jan. 3.
S.C. voters re-elected Mr. DeMint by a large margin in 2010. Thus, his replacement should be a good match for the outgoing senator’s conservative philosophy. Rep. Scott fits the bill — and is in especially close agreement with Sen. DeMint on the long-overdue necessities of restraining runaway federal spending and reforming entitlement programs.
» Whoever replaces Mr. DeMint must operate in the political realm. But the governor’s finalists include two people who have never even run for office. South Carolina doesn’t need a senator who’s learning politics on that high-stakes job — or one who has never earned the voters’ approval.
Rep. Scott has ample experience in elective offices — and in winning them. He served 13 years on Charleston County Council and two in the S.C. House before being elected to the U.S. House in 2010. Last month, he won a second congressional term by a large margin.
State Rep. Chip Limehouse smiled broadly. The Republican was in what he called home territory and said he’s often at Summerville events. But he’s also eyeing Congressman Tim Scott’s seat that could become vacant if the tea party congressional star is nabbed for Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointment to U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint’s seat. And while Summerville isn’t in Limehouse’s state house district, it is in Scott’s Congressional District 1.
“There’s speculation that Gov. Haley may pick Tim Scott to fill the vacancy,” Limehouse said. ”It’s not premature. It’s just a good thing regardless of whether the race occurs or not … If that occurs I will definitely be strongly considering entering the race. At this point, all I can say is that I hope Tim Scott gets picked by the governor.”
A special election would be required to fill the Congressional seat. But Limehouse isn’t the only politician waiting to see who the governor appoints. S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Goose Creek, has also expressed interest in seeking Scott’s seat.
“I definitely would give it a hard look,” Grooms said. “It’s just premature talk right now.”
UPDATE: CNN is reporting Haley called former state attorney general Henry McMaster and told him he is not her selection.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Kurt Pickhardt, Haley’s political director, just Tweeted, “Today is going to be historic.” While you can interpret that remark many ways, it certainly seems to hint to Tim Scott, who would become the first black Senator from a Southern state since Blanche Bruce in 1881; only the second from the South in U.S. history and only the seventh black Senator in U.S. history.
Alternatively, either former first lady Jenny Sanford or Catherine Templeton, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, would be the first woman senator from South Carolina if named by Haley.
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley just released the following statement regarding the process of filling the vacancy created by U.S. Senator Jim DeMint’s retirement:
As I continue to consider the impending U.S. Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a “placeholder” appointee who would pledge to serve for only two years and not seek election to the seat in 2014. While there are some good arguments in favor of that approach, I believe the better case is against it.
I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office. I do not want to deprive our state’s citizens of the chance to render their judgment on the appointee’s performance by way of their vote. Most importantly, while I am an avid supporter of term limits, I do not want the effectiveness of our state’s new U.S. Senator to be undermined by the fact that he or she will automatically be leaving the office such a very short time after assuming it.
I believe South Carolina will be best served by a U.S. Senator who will work hard day in and day out, and put him or herself before the voters at the soonest possible time. Accordingly, I reject the option of a “placeholder.”
Former state attorney general Henry McMaster was most often mentioned as a potential “placeholder” candidate; of course, it’s still entirely possible Haley will appoint him. All her statement above indicates is that her pick is probably going to run for reelection in 2014.
Governor Nikki Haley today released the following statement regarding U.S. Senator Jim DeMint’s retirement and the process of filling the vacancy it creates:
Appointing a new member of the U.S. Senate is a solemn duty, and I take this responsibility with utmost seriousness. I will make this decision in a manner that is thoughtful and dignified, but also quickly.
I want to make two things clear from the outset. Number one, I will not take the appointment myself. Number two, I will appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share.
With all the challenges we face as a state and nation, it is essential that the next senator from South Carolina be dedicated to the principles that our state most values.
I am told that one of the names I mentioned yesterday, state senator Tom Davis, has indicated he is not interested in the appointment and has communicated that to Haley’s office. He is citing unfinished business in his work in the legislature.
If we had a press that had even the vaguest sense of even-handedness, there would be loud cries for the resignation for either of the TWO Democratic state-party chairs who comparing their opposition to Nazis.
S.C. Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian, never a loss for a quick quip, tossed a few stinging one-liners at the Wednesday delegation breakfast.
On Gov. Nikki Haley participating in daily news briefings in a basement studio at the NASCAR Hall of Fame: “She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun.”
Earlier this week, California state Democratic-party chairman John Burton invoked Goebbels’s “Big Lie” in denouncing what he insisted were lies on the part of Paul Ryan. Most of the time, when a public figure makes the Gobbels comparison, it represents a speaker wanting to say something like, “Hey, that guy is really, really lying,” but who also finds it convenient to implicitly suggest that the opponent’s agenda is genocidal.
The comment from Harpootlian is much worse, because the only thing Haley did that he can compare to Hitler’s mistress is be in a basement. Thus, in Harpootlian’s mind, anyone who has ever been in a basement can be fairly compared to a woman who slept with Hitler. I suppose we should be thankful that he didn’t say Haley was in the basement . . . just like Hitler himself.
This doesn’t even get into the fact that we’ve got a white male party chairman comparing the country’s second Indian-American governor to a member of a movement that advocated the genetic superiority of the Aryan race. There’s no policy criticism, no criticism of her agenda or ideas within that remark; he just wanted to associate the governor with a Nazi figure and so he charged right ahead.
Sometimes a racially charged comment will have dire consequences for one’s career: Trent Lott and Don Imus come to mind. Other times, the media and public just shrug their shoulders and move on. Harry Reid can marvel at Barack Obama’s lack of a “negro accent” with no real consequence. Bill Clinton can describe Obama to Ted Kennedy as a “guy [who] would have been getting us coffee” not long ago with no real consequence. Hillary Clinton faced accusations of racism for appearing to diminish the accomplishments of Martin Luther King in comparison to Lyndon Johnson — until the Democratic primary ended, and then no liberal had much reason to stir the controversy further. Joe Biden can utter awful stereotypical jokes about Indians running 7-11s and Dunkin’ Donuts with no major repercussion. The president’s mentor trafficked in explicit racial insults — referring to Italians as “garlic noses” — and the topic was deemed irrelevant by many. And of course, there is the former recruiter of the Ku Klux Klan who used the n-word on national television with little major repercussion.
The ability of Democratic officials to make racial remarks, or to use incendiary rhetoric, and avoid consequence is entirely a conscious decision on the collective national news media to find little or nothing newsworthy in these remarks — compared to a week of, say, Todd Akin coverage.
In an article about the allegedly horrific scandal of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s 14-year-old daughter working in the gift shop of the South Carolina state house, there’s an inadvertently damning indictment of our current economy:
“Even these minimum-wage jobs in this economy can be pretty tough to find,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director for the Washington, D.C.,-based Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan think tank on government issues, including ethics. “While this is probably a small-potatoes case, it creates the appearance of a conflict of interest and strikes me as a politically tone-deaf decision.”
A half-dozen ethics experts and legislators declined to comment on whether the job constituted nepotism when contacted by The State. Most said they did not want to comment because of the involvement of Haley’s child.
For those who care, the governor’s daughter makes $8 per hour, and works 20 to 25 hours per week cleaning and stocking shelves.
So which is the bigger scandal and concern – that the governor’s daughter works part-time in a state job that pays 75 cents per hour above South Carolina’s minimum wage, or the fact that about three years after the recession allegedly ended, minimum wage jobs are tough to find?
UPDATE: I checked in with one of my South Carolina guys, a veteran of GOP races in the Palmetto State, and he said this may not be as helpful to Romney as people think: “This helps more nationally than it does in-state,” he said. “Romney is too defined in South Carolina for this to matter much. The timing of this also shows that both the Romney and Haley camps know Romney will get slaughtered in South Carolina, hence their rolling this out now. Otherwise, if Romney and Haley thought Romney had a chance, they’d announce this right after the New Hampshire primary as all eyes turn to South Carolina.”
The good folks at Civitas released a new poll today, contending that, “amidst the heated debate between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), 67 percent of North Carolina voters think Gov. Bev Perdue should take action to prevent the NLRB from interfering with jobs here.”
“With jobs, unemployment and the economy on everyone’s mind, voters fear that actions like those of the NLRB will only hurt the economy and mean fewer jobs,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca.
I’d say I think they’re close in their assessment but with a caveat. Indeed, the National Labor Relations Board could be a potent issue in right-to-work states. But right now, a majority of voters aren’t following the issue:
“As you may know, the National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency whose members are appointed by the President, filed suit against the Boeing Corporation saying they should not be allowed to open a new factory in neighboring South Carolina instead of in Washington state. Like North Carolina, South Carolina is a right-to-work state while Washington state is not. Are you familiar with this issue?”
Yes – 39%
No – 60%
Don’t Know – 2%
“Are you afraid the National Labor Relations Board could take similar action in North Carolina and other right to work states?”
Yes – 51%
No – 21%
Don’t Know – 28%
“Governor Nikki Haley and 15 other governors sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board asking it to dismiss its complaint against Boeing. Do you think Governor Perdue should take similar action to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from interfering in North Carolina’s job creation efforts in the future?”
Yes – 67%
No – 16%
Don’t Know – 18%
From this, at least 12 percent of North Carolinians are afraid that the NLRB could take similar action in their state, even though a moment earlier they described themselves as “not familiar with the issue.”
Again, lack of respondent familiarity doesn’t mean the NLRB issue couldn’t move votes. The Boeing fight features unelected bureaucrats dictating to businesses that they cannot move to states where labor is cheaper. As Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell observed recently, this is bad for everybody: Every major company that may be thinking about moving operations now hesitates about moving from a non-right-to-work state to a right-to-work state, since they figure they will face considerable expenses in fighting NLRB in the courts; meanwhile, businesses get even more wary about setting up operations in non-right-to-work states, because they now realize they may never get permission to leave. At a time when jobs and unemployment and economic concerns are paramount, those arguments could be potent.
One of the favorites of South Carolina conservatives, Gov. Nikki Haley, and one of their least favorites, Sen. Lindsey Graham, are teaming up to promote legislation that would permit states such as the Palmetto State to “opt out” of Obamacare.
Graham mentions the value in putting every senator on record as to whether or not their state should have the option of opting out of Obamacare.
In South Carolina Republican circles, there’s still a lot of talk about a conservative challenge to Sen. Lindsey Graham, but it’s worth noting he’s not up for reelection until 2014.
Having said that, take a look at the level of support for Democrat Vincent Sheheen in these polls: 44, 41, 33, 36, 35, 40, 34, 34. The first two numbers in the 40s are from polls by a Democrat firm. Today’s poll puts Sheheen at 37.
Pretty consistent, and very ominous.
UPDATE: Elsewhere in the state, Democrat Alvin Greene now trails Green Party candidate Tom Clements, 11 percent to 12 percent. Republican incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint is hanging on with 68 percent.
This is sad. The South Carolina Democratic party offers a poll to insist the governor’s race isn’t over:
A new poll completed just last evening shows some significant positive movement for Vincent Sheheen, with the race a virtual dead heat. Nikki Haley leads Sheheen 45%-41%, within the poll’s margin of error of 3.9%. Thirteen percent remain undecided.
The poll was conducted by South Carolina pollster Crantford & Associates. The survey involved 634 active registered South Carolina voters. Data collection occurred Thursday September the 30th between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM.
Looking at the internals, I notice this poll is 58 percent women, 42 percent men. That seems a little high; in 2008, the exit poll for South Carolina put it at 56 percent women, 44 percent men.
They have 21 percent of South Carolinians “undecided” between Jim DeMint and Alvin Greene.
Also, oddly, this poll skews much older than Election Day 2008; only 13 percent of South Carolina’s electorate was 65 and older in 2008, while 34 percent of this sample is 65 and over. We should expect older voters to make up a larger share of the electorate in 2010, but that’s a big shift . . .
Little has changed in Pennsylvania’s race for governor, with Republican State Attorney General Tom Corbett earning 50% support this month against Democrat Dan Onorato. The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Onorato, the chief executive of Allegheny County, picking up 39% of the vote.
Perhaps part of the problem is when voters see a candidate’s name and the first two syllables look like, “Oh, no!”
Feel free to take appropriate grains of salt in assessing this report from this South Carolina source, whom I call “Dad”:
On Sunday I went to the Hilton Head Democrats’ picnic to educate myself. Very small turn out. Very HOT day. Maybe 100 people. [Gubernatorial candidate] Vincent Sheheen was the speaker. He got lost on HHI and showed up late. The head of the Democrats for Beaufort County said how proud he was of the whole Democratic ticket, but never made reference to their Senatorial candidate, American Hero Alvin Greene. Sheheen spoke like he was running against Mark Sanford instead of Nikki Haley.
In defense of Sheheen, those traffic circles in Hilton Head can be pretty maddening.
Nikki Haley, the front runner to become the Republican nominee for Governor of South Carolina has recently changed the language on her website to reflect a more Christian tone. The Brody File is NOT questioning her Christian beliefs at all but rather how the emphasis of her religious language seems to have evolved throughout her political career . . .
. . . In 2004, (seven years after becoming a Christian) she and her family were still attending Sikh Temples as well as their Methodist Church. In 2004, she was running for the State Legislature and she was quoted back then as saying, “I was born and raised with the Sikh faith, my husband and I were married in the Methodist Church, our children have been baptized in the Methodist Church, and currently we attend both.” Her 2004 campaign played up her Sikh upbringing and faith saying that “Nikki was proudly raised with her Indian traditions” No mention that she’s a Christian.
. . . The bottom line: Haley and the Sikh faith were an important part of her storyline . . . back in 2004. But today there are no Sikh references are on her website or campaign literature. And that website language has become more overtly Christian. When asked to specifically address why Sikh references were more overt in 2004 than in 2010, Pearson didn’t provide us with an answer to that question.
For the GOP, this is the best case scenario. You have a Christian, Indian-American woman representing your party in a state in the Deep South. Folks, from a PR perspective it doesn’t get any better than that. Haley’s victory adds much needed diversity to the GOP rainbow. And as for Haley’s comet? We may only get to see the one in space every 76 years but the one here on Earth is visible everyday and is going to be around a long time.
As I wrote in a Morning Jolt:
I think if you’re a reporter, and a campaign says, “hey, doesn’t our opponent’s religious faith seem a little sketchy?” you think long and hard before you partake in investigative journalism delving into deeply personal matters like that. If even Mother Teresa had long stretches of doubt, it suggests we can never really know what’s going on in a person’s head when they’re talking to God. So if that’s the case, who’s willing to declare someone to be insufficiently pious to serve as governor of South Carolina? Who’s certain that candidate X’s expressions of religious faith are genuine and candidate Y’s are just designed to win votes among religious voters? (I seem to remember some good book saying something about the correct order for a stone-throwing contest.)
This may be a pleasantly early night for election-returns watchers.
With 32 percent of precincts reporting in the GOP runoff for governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley leads Gresham Barrett, 62 percent to 38 percent. She’s just been declared the winner.
In the 1st congressional district, with 26 percent of precincts reporting, Tim Scott is way ahead of Paul Thurmond, 72 percent to 28 percent.
In another GOP House primary, Rep. Bob Inglis appears to be going down in flames, trailing Trey Gowdy 72 percent to 28 percent, with 31 percent of precincts reporting.
In North Carolina, Elaine Marshall is beating Cal Cunningham in the Democratic Senate primary, 62 percent to 37 percent, with 27 percent of precincts reporting. The winner takes on incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr.
In a hotly contested battle in the North Carolina’s 8th congressional district, former body-armor executive Tim D’Annunzio trails retired Charlotte television sportscaster Harold Johnson, 66 percent to 33 percent, with only 5 percent of precincts reporting so far.
UPDATE: In my e-mailbox:
Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary runoff in South Carolina and will face Democratic state Senator Vincent Sheheen in November. Republican Governors Association Executive Director Nick Ayers today issued the following statement:
“Nikki Haley’s historic victory in South Carolina is a testament to her hard work, perseverance and determination. Her success ushers in a new era of South Carolina politics, and represents a growing new generation of Republican leaders from across the country. We congratulate her on besting an experienced field of challengers, first capturing the most votes in the primary and then winning the short runoff.
“Now the attention turns to the general election, where Nikki Haley will offer a clear vision of lower taxes, reduced government interference, and greater economic opportunity and job creation. Her Democratic opponent will simply bring the same tired policies: increased reliance on government, higher taxes and meddling in the private sector.
“We look forward to working with Nikki Haley and her campaign to ensure that she earns a tremendous and well-deserved victory in November.”
UPDATE: With more than half the precincts reporting, Tim Scott leads with more than 73 percent. Wonder what it will take to call this one.
In the South Carolina state attorney general’s race, Joe Wilson’s son, Alan Wilson, leads 57–42 over Leighton Lord, with 12 of 46 counties reporting.
ANOTHER UPDATE: 8:45 p.m., the AP calls it for Tim Scott. Meet the man likely to be the first African-American Republican congressman since J. C. Watts:
It’s primary day in Utah, and runoff day in South Carolina, Utah, and North Carolina.
In South Carolina, Republicans will pick their gubernatorial nominee between Nikki Haley and Gresham Barrett. The past two weeks have seen no anti-Haley bombshells, so she is expected to win; in the first round, she had 49 percent to about 22 percent for Barrett. But because a little over 50 percent voted for someone else last time, it’s possible this might not be the rout that the first round’s results would suggest. Haley represents overturning the established order of Palmetto State GOP politics, and there are a lot of folks who are comfortable with the way things are already.
Down-ticket, Leighton Lord and Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson, are fighting for the GOP nomination to be state attorney general. A mysterious group is running ads against Wilson, claiming he’s just a “Good Ole Boy” who once failed the bar exam. The ads are enough to get his father to yell, “YOU L-” — eh, you know, that joke is just too easy.
Also down-ticket in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district is the GOP runoff for U.S. House; Tim Scott is expected to finish ahead of Paul Thurmond, son of the longtime senator. This is an R+10 district, and so the winner is likely to go on to win in November; if elected, Scott would be the first African-American Republican in the House since J. C. Watts retired.
I notice Thurmond is running an attack ad that simultaneously criticizes Scott for supporting more spending and for opposing funding for harbor dredging.
Rasmussen has polled South Carolina’s GOP gubernatorial race and finds Nikki Haley running a bit better than Gresham Barrett, but not by a large margin.
The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Haley picking up 55% of the vote over Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen, who earns 34% support. Five percent (5%) would choose some other candidate and six percent (6%) are undecided.
Congressman Gresham Barrett earns 46% support over Sheheen’s 38%. However, 10% of voters would vote for some other candidate in this match-up and six percent (6%) are not sure.
Briefly returning to the South Carolina GOP gubernatorial runoff . . . If all of the supporters of Nikki Haley and Gresham Barrett return to the polls in two weeks, and all of the supporters of Henry McMaster and Andre Bauer stay home, the result would add up to a 70–30 victory for Haley.
The poll shows that Haley’s support has shot up 13 points since her dominant showing in Tuesday’s Republican primary and she now leads Barrett by a 62-28 margin, according to the poll. Haley finished with 49 percent of the vote on Tuesday, while Barrett trailed a distant second with 22 percent.
It seems clear that Barrett won’t drop out; he may hope or think that some guy claiming to have had an affair with Haley will produce genuine evidence sometime between now and the runoff. If he concedes, he knows what happens; if he stays in, he’s got a shot if she implodes.