Stalemate: the Republican primary battle heads into runoffs

Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

This election cycle has seen the stepped-up involvement of S.C. Club for Growth and South Carolinians for Responsible Government, as Gov. Mark Sanford and his allies have tried to oust members of their own party yet again.

The plan to do so, written by former Sanford spokesman Will Folks for Club for Growth last year, stated that it would take 15-20 new legislators to get the governor’s agenda through the General Assembly. Right now, that doesn’t look like it will happen.

The Club’s record going into Tuesday’s runoffs, as applied to endorsements of potential new legislators, looks like this:

Tim Scott (Win)
Tom Davis (Win)
Deborah Long (Win)
Joey Millwood (Win)
Mike Rose (Win)
Tommy Stringer (Win)
Wendy Nanney (Win)
Bill Wylie (Win)

Stu Rodman (Loss)
Joe Bustos (Loss)
Roger Nutt (Loss)
Trey Whitehurst (Loss)
Kyle Boyd (Loss)
Ed Rumsey (Loss)
Jim Whitehead (Loss)

Katrina Shealy (Runoff)
Lee Bright (Runoff)

For those of you scoring at home, that’s a record of 8-7-2 – not exactly what could be considered a mandate. If Shealy and Bright both lose, then the Club would be sub-.500 for the cycle, which is not, conceivably, what the people with the deep pockets were looking at when going forward in this effort.

The only way possible for the effort to be a success is if Shealy can knock off Sen. Jake Knotts and other legislators start getting scared. There really isn’t any reason they should be, though.

Consider this – the Sandlapper Group, run by SCRG’s Chad Connelly and Conservatives in Action’s Taft Matney, managed only a 1-5 record in their contested races (the 19-vote win by Millwood). SCRG was heavily involved in these races, but to no avail.

The conclusion? If you throw enough spitballs against the wall, some of them are going to stick. But it doesn’t appear that the best laid plans worked out.


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