Down in South Carolina, one Republican lawmaker with a famous name is declaring that he’s not interested in running for the seat soon to be vacated by Tim Scott, who will become the Palmetto State’s newest senator next Wednesday.
Some contenders already are bowing out, including newly elected state Sen. Paul Thurmond, R-Charleston.
Thurmond said Monday he was humbled by the number of people asking him to run but that he could best serve his District 41 constituents by ending speculation that he will seek the seat being vacated soon by Rep. Tim Scott.
Thurmond came closest to Scott in the crowded GOP congressional primary in 2010, and he was among almost two dozen possible Republican candidates to seek the seat again, Charleston County Chair Lin Bennett said.
Thurmond is, of course, the son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond, who represented the state in the Senate for 48 years.
Filing for the vacated congressional seat will begin at noon on Jan. 18 and continue for ten days. The primary is scheduled for March 19 — right now, there is only one Democrat interested in running, state representative Wendell Gilliard, of Charleston — and the general election for the seat will be on May 7. It will be the first major election conducted under the state’s new photo-ID law.
The Post and Courier lists the small army of candidates being mentioned on the Republican side:
On the GOP side, potential candidates include former Gov. Mark Sanford and his ex-wife, former first lady Jenny Sanford; state Sens. Chip Campsen and Larry Grooms; state Reps. Chip Limehouse, Peter McCoy, Jim Merrill and Andy Patrick; Charleston County Councilman Elliott Summey; Dorchester County Councilman Jay Byars; Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings; Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson; former state Sen. John Kuhn; former Charleston County School Board member Larry Kabrovsky; former Charleston County Council members Curtis Bostic and Joe McKeown; and Lowcountry businessmen Keith Blandford, Carroll Campbell, Mark Lutz, Bob Menges and Teddy Turner.
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.