Diary

Midterm Races in South Carolina

South Carolina politics can be mean and rough and sometimes is not for the faint of heart.  Despite the apparent dislike of [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] here and elsewhere, this year’s political atmosphere has been rather bland in the state..  Four years ago there was intrigue and allegations of marital infidelity with a touch of race thrown in surrounding the candidacy and ultimate election of Nikki Haley as Governor.  She is in for a rematch against Vincent Sheheen this year.  Unlike 2010, I do not see the race being as close.  Haley is established now and has a fairly decent approval rating in the state- at least high enough to guarantee a victory.  Potentially complicating matters is the presence of independent candidate Tom Ervin on the ballot whose positions sound like they were picked from both Haley and Sheheen’s agenda and repackaged.  He has deep pockets and there does appear to be some grassroots support (he collected double the amount of signatures than required to get on the ballot).  Still, that was August and this is the real election and if anything, he’ll pull an equal amount from both major parties.  Democrats insist they have a chance here based on two things.  First, they cite Haley’s relatively low approval ratings which seemed to bottom out at 44%, but have rebounded.  Second, they cite Haley’s narrow 2010 election victory margin in a GOP wave year.  With no “wave,” they believe they can defeat Haley.

The problem with the Democratic arguments is that they are arguing 2010 in 2014 when things have changed.  As noted already, Haley’s approval ratings have improved since this campaign began.  Unlike 2014, most of the barriers Haley had to break- first female Governor, first minority Governor in South Carolina- have been overcome.  The people who supported her in 2010 support her this year.  Although they have yet to endorse anyone yet, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has not endorsed Sheheen, something they had done by this time four years ago.  Sheheen will get the typical bloc of Democratic voters.  The problem is that more people are on board with Haley, including some Democrats.  Haley will win this race by about 10 points.

There are two Senate races this year.  In the first, everyone’s favorite RINO (besides [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ]), [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] easily won his primary.  Some predicted a tight race and runoff that never materialized from a challenge from Graham’s right.  For me, the most frustrating thing about Graham and others is how they suddenly become righteously indignant and conservative when election time rolls around and then join Gangs of Six or Eight or Whatever when it comes to actually sticking up for conservative principles.  [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] will win his election against Brad Hutto, but his days may be numbered.  A Graham electoral loss somewhere down the road will not come at the hands of Brad Hutto or any other Democrat, but more likely a fellow Republican.  Prediction: Graham by 14+ points.

Conversely, the other GOP Senator from South Carolina, [mc_name name=’Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’S001184′ ] will also have no problem being reelected.  Unlike Graham, he has consistently performed above the 50% mark and is on his way towards a 16+ point victory over his opponent.  One suspects his profile to increase in the Senate.  Thus far, [mc_name name=’Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’S001184′ ] has been feeling his way and building a conservative record.  This may be time for him to break out and assume some leadership and a higher profile in the Senate, especially if the GOP takes control.

The current South Carolina congressional delegation is 6-1 in favor of the GOP and one cannot see any district that will flip either way.  When the election is over, the delegation will still be 6-1.  Two Republicans are not even facing any competition from the Democrats on Election Day.

There are no changes in the make up of the House, Senate or Governor’s offices after this entry.  We stand at a net total of 6 GOP pick-ups in the House at this point.

Next stop: It’s a short ride through the cradle of the Civil War- Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.