Archive for the ‘SC Power Brokers’ category

SC Power Broker: Gresham Barrett

January 19, 2007


Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-03) is certainly cut from the conservative cloth.  He represents the 3rd Congressional District which spans from the uber-Republican areas of Pickens and Anderson Counties down to Aiken County.  He is very popular within his district and has a reputation of being a stick to your guns principles type of guy.  We heard that Congressman Barrett was once cornered by the Congressional GOP leadership and offered a plum committee assignment (or anything he wanted for that matter) if he would only vote for the Medicaid BoondoggleBill and he flat out refused.  Anyway you slice it, he is a force in the GOP, and with the rumors of a Gubernatorial bid in his future; his star here at home is on the rise.

All of this makes his endorsement a quixotic one.  After all, being known for your steadfast conservatism, honesty, and ambition is a rare thing these days.  Looking at the breakdown, we know that he has narrowed his choice to Senator McCain and Governor Romney (he said as much here), but what we don’t know is which factors will play in his decision making process.  We thought it would be fun to analyze this like a Sicilian when death is on the line:

Everyone knows that Barrett is a conservative and Romney is courting the conservative vote, so clearly he must choose the cup in front of Romney. 

However, since Barrett knows that he wants to run for Governor and a number of key players have sided with McCain, clearly he must choose the cup in front of McCain. 

Ah-hah, but knowing that a number of McCainiacs are also potential candidates for Governor in 2010, it is obvious that he must choose the cup in front of Romney. 

But wait we’re just getting started! 

What we don’t know is whether the evangelical voting base will trust a Mormon, so clearly he cannot choose the cup in front of Romney.

But knowing that McCain went through a bitter primary in 2000 in South Carolina that left scars with Republican voters, it is obvious that he cannot choose the cup in front of McCain….

Well we all know how that ended up in the movie.  Anyone else got a guess?


Will Wilson Endorse Duncan Hunter for President?

January 16, 2007


In a January 10th press release Congressman Joe Wilson gave Congressman Duncan Hunter a shout out:

“Last week, I joined with House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Duncan Hunter and 26 other House Republicans in encouraging the President to move more Iraqi forces into Baghdad.  I was pleased to hear this is exactly what will happen.  Through combat experience, Iraqi forces will mature and will more quickly assume full control of Iraq’s security.”

Wilson, who serves with Hunter on the Armed Services Committee, mentioned Hunter’s name in what could be considered an attempt to inject the Presidential hopeful into the media of South Carolina. While it is not unusual for Congressional members to gather for major political events of this nature, including other attending members’ names in a press release is normally uncommon (especially if that person happens to be a declared candidate for President). Wilson originally had endorsed former Sen. George Allen, but with his defeat this past November, Allen is no longer a viable candidate for the Republican Nomination.

Although this name drop in a press release is far from a public endorsement, it gives an idea to the direction Wilson currently is leaning towards. Wilson and Hunter do have a close relationship on the Hill, and their past work together could lead Wilson to get behind this “dark horse” candidate. Wilson represents the Second Congressional District, which includes key primary counties of Lexington, Richland, and Beaufort. 

[Tim Cameron]

SC Power Broker: Mark Sanford

January 15, 2007


We have been meaning to write a piece looking at Governor Sanford and his potential impact on the GOP Presidential Primary and Hoover’s piece finally inspired us to give our $.02

Last week we decided to profile some of South Carolina’s biggest political players that have yet to get in the endorsement game and their potential impact on the race should they pick a horse.  We began with Congressman Jim Clyburn and today we are profiling Governor Mark Sanford.

Hoover comes across as very suspicious of the reasoning behind Sanford’s decision to refrain from entering the political frey.  After all, Sanford supported McCain in 2000 and nothing has really happened since that would lead anyone to believe that their relationship had gone south.  So is this just a clever ruse?

Well it may be, but we honestly believe the Governor really does have his eye on accomplishing something of significance during this legislative session.  He has not been able to score any major accomplishments and all politics aside, this guy really does believe in the proposals he has put forth.  So in the interest of advancing his agenda, it only makes sense for him to stay out of the game, for now. 

Realistically, it is very early and the Governor has to focus on the Legislature or he won’t get his agenda through.  Jumping into the Presidential race at this point may help the candidate, but would only serve as a reason for some legislators to oppose him and his legislative agenda.  The question is; why spend your political capital on someone else at this point and not yourself?  It wouldn’t make sense.  Not at this point.

In looking at a potential Sanford endorsement, it is safe to say that it would be a pretty coveted commodity.  Sanford is very popular (outside the bubble) and could help a presidential campaign take its message directly to the people.  We envision a trademark Sanford ad, complete with the Governor himself speaking directly to the voters as he is so good at doing.  This could be particularly effective at a time when/if the campaigns are getting particularly negative.  However, if he got in now, he is just a name on a list.  Only insiders and activists are watching.  His biggest bang lies outside that realm.

We expect that the nod will go to Senator McCain, but it is only reasonable to believe that it is way too early for the Governor to get in the game.  It wouldn’t have the maximum effect for the campaign, and it would certainly cost the Governor some points with the Legislature. 

SC Power Brokers

January 10, 2007


While it is unclear whether the old saying, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes,” makes good politics, it is clear the some campaigns adhere to it and other just don’t give a hoot. 

For the last few months, most of the Presidential campaigns in SC (any worth mentioning anyway) have been sifting through their legislative manuals and P-1 lists, arranging meetings and soliciting support.  McCain has put together a solid and very public list thus far.  Romney’s folks seem to prefer to keep their list a little closer to the vest, but have now released a big endorsement by our junior Senator, Jim DeMint. 

It does appear, however, that SC may have a few of its top political power brokers who are keeping their powder dry and holding their endorsements, for now. 

Perhaps this is nothing more than slobbering on the ole finger and sticking it in the wind, but a number of our state’s top leaders have yet to get in the game.  In the end, Governor Sanford and most of our Congressional Delegation could end up being the power brokers that seal the deal for the nominee in South Carolina.  Over the next few days, we will take a look at each of South Carolina’s power brokers to see if we can figure out just which way they might go in the end.

Today we highlight Congressman Jim Clyburn:

Above all others, Congressman Clyburn’s endorsement could be the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for the Democrat Primary in South Carolina.    In 2004, after Clyburn’s close friend and ally, Dick Gephardt, dropped out of the race; all roads led to Clyburn’s doorstep for Democrat hopefuls.  In February of 2004, Newsweek said of Clyburn,

“In South Carolina, they call him their third senator, but the way the presidential candidates are courting him, he might as well be king. It’s not just his distinguished presence—his salt-and-pepper hair or his years in state and federal government—that places James Clyburn on a political pedestal. He’s the most senior African-American politician in a state where about half the Democratic-primary voters are minorities.”

They went on to further gush:

“He’s the guy whose ring you’ve got to kiss in South Carolina.”

For Democrats hoping to take a shot at the White House in 2008, paying homage to Congressman Clyburn is high on the “to do” list.  Many political observers assume that if Senator Barack Obama throws his hat into the race that a Clyburn endorsement is not far behind, but we don’t think so.  Congressman Clyburn is as shrewd a politician as they come in South Carolina and just because both men are African Americans doesn’t mean the endorsement is a lock.  A similar example would be Clyburn’s endorsement of Senator John Kerry in 2004 over perceived hometown boy, John Edwards.  It is safe to say that Congressman Clyburn’s endorsement will be for the candidate who espouses the views in line with his own and for the candidate who best serves Jim Clyburn.

His endorsement this cycle will be even more coveted than years before, especially with Congressman Clyburn’s new power position in the House majority.  His rock star status among African American and white Democrats alike has risen even higher.  Throw in a dash of one of the best grassroots networks in the state and you got yourself a real power broker for the lucky man or woman who get his nod.