Trevor Floyd - Political Correspondent
June 13, 2012
On Tuesday, June 12th, South Carolina was one of six states across the United States to cast primary ballots for House seats. Most of the state was pretty quiet on this front, with none of the incumbents in any real danger (five of the six running totally uncontested) and no big surprises on the side of the opposition. That was not, however, how it went down in the new District Seven. For those who may not know, when the U.S. government took the national census in 2010, it was determined that South Carolina’s growth had exceeded the national average enough to warrant a new congressional district- and therefore, a new Congressman. As expected, this new congressional district split up the old District One- which contained the state’s entire coastal region. The new district encompasses Horry, Georgetown, Marion, Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Marlboro, and Chesterfield counties.
So what that means is Horry County Republicans and Democrats went to the ballot box yesterday for the second time in as many election cycles to determine who will run for the open seat this year. The Democrats had somewhat of a surprise- choosing Clemson grad and Coastal Carolina teaching associate Dr. Gloria Tinubu over favorite Preston Brittain. This, of course, only coming after previous favorite Ted Vick dropped out of the race due to a DUI. The Republicans, meanwhile, narrowed it down to two: Ex Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer and Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice, who will face each other in a run-off election on June 26th.
So what does all of it mean? First off, it means that the Dems did their homework (A Clemson Ph.D.? Yes, please!) Second off, it means 32% of the Republicans- the ones that voted for Andre Bauer- didn’t.
Why do I say that? Let’s look at the facts. Only one county in District 7- Horry- has a poverty rate lower than the state average of 16.4% (Horry’s poverty rate is 16.1%). As a whole, the district’s average poverty rate is 22.45%- well above the state average, and even further above the national average of 13.8%. These numbers simply back up what everyone in the region already knows, because they feel the impact of it every day; poverty is prevalent in northeastern South Carolina. Unemployment is high, and underemployment is through the roof. Thousands of people are living paycheck to paycheck, some not even sure how they’re going to eat or where they’re going to sleep every night. So why, then, would 32% of the area’s Republicans vote for the man who, during his gubernatorial campaign in 2010, compared poor people to stray animals? Why would people stuck in the vicious poverty cycle vote for someone so elitist that he thinks basic traffic laws don’t apply to him?
Even people who aren’t enduring problems of the same magnitude as the 22.45% in poverty still live alongside all of the evidence- run down and ineffective schools, jails bursting from the seams with inmates, and under-funded and under-staffed fire departments, police stations and hospitals. These are things that impact the lives of every single person who lives in our district- not just those suffering in poverty. So, then, it is against the interest of EVERY citizen to vote for a representative who is more interested in cutting social programs, cutting welfare, and cutting the things in place to help the less fortunate and impoverished people in the new district.
That would be like voting for a South Carolina grad to be President of the local IPTAY chapter. Why would want a representative that doesn’t represent you?
So what was it? Was it because his name was first on the ballot (which is not that far fetched)? Was it because of name recognition from him being the Lieutenant Governor? Was it because his last name gave area Republicans images of our Congressman saving the country from terrorists in 24 hour periods as a side job? Was it the unreal amount of signage the Bauer campaign flooded the district with? Whatever it was, it couldn’t have been because people actually believed Bauer would fight for the things that are important to the people of the district. Because he won’t.
There is hope, however- although he did garner a plurality of the Republican votes, the “hardest working politician in the state” is not the Republican nominee yet. No, he has a run-off against Tom Rice, who isn’t much better as a choice of candidate, but he at least hasn’t publicly stated that he thinks his potential future constituents are like stray animals. Considering the demographics of the region, whoever the Republican nominee is will almost definitely be the winner in November. So please, District Seven, do the homework, and make sure our former Lieutenant Governor- whose ignorance and arrogance is only surpassed by his ethics-violating successor, Ken Ard- is not that guy come June 26th.
Hero of the Day: Each article, after my main opinion piece, I will select a hero of the day- someone who did something really good or cool- and a villain of the day- someone who did something really awful or stupid. I will try to keep it local but sometimes, I’ll choose someone from somewhere else in the country that I just couldn’t pass up.
So, that said, today’s hero is an anonymous woman from Pawley’s Island that you can read about here who won $250,000 from the South Carolina Education Lottery, and instead of blowing it on a shopping spree or a new luxury car, she’s going to fix up her home for her and her family. She says it’s been her dream to fix her leaky roof, and she’s happy she won’t have to worry whenever it rains in the future.
That’s the kind of story that warms the heart, right? She’s the hero of the day.
Villain of the Day: The villain of the day is Juanita Renea Cochran. The Florence area woman kidnapped her own son and took him to North Carolina. Why did she do it? To avoid a custody hearing with the boy’s father.
Did she really think having kidnapping on her résumé would bolster her shot at keeping her son? D’oh!
Thought for the Day: If “Pro” is the opposite of “Con”, then what is the opposite of Progress? (An old one, I know)