Howard Rich’s influence on the wane?

The jury is still out on whether NYC millionaire Howard Rich is beginning to lose his grip on South Carolina, but there is a promising sign coming out of Lancaster County. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, running for S.C. Senate District 16, said he won’t take Rich’s money.

“I am not going to take any money from Mr. Rich,” said Mulvaney, a real estate developer who supported Mitt Romney in the GOP primary. “I don’t know how I can be any more clear than that. I hope that takes this non-issue off the table so we can talk things like education. And I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t.”

While Mulvaney took about $7,000 from Rich in his ’06 House race, this is a good harbinger that things may be changing. However one feels about the school choice issue, everyone should agree that democracy is subverted when an out-of-state millionaire can come in and finance candidates to the point to where he’s created a political party by proxy, accountable to him.

While you’d think this would throw a wrench in the plans of his opponent, Mandy Powers Norrell, from allying Mulvaney and Rich, she’s pressing on.

Still, Democratic candidate Mandy Powers Norrell wants to make Rich a central figure in the race. She told supporters in an e-mail this week that Rich has given money to Mulvaney and others “in an attempt to privatize our education system.”

OK – if your opponent isn’t taking money from a guy, you can’t nail him to that cross. Plus, Norrell seems to be really half-assing it here:

Norrell, a lawyer, said she is open to school choice, but not if it diverts money from public schools.

And, Norrell is on the board of Discovery School, a charter school that her kids go to. Charter schools are usually part of any school choice plan.

So, let’s figure this one out: Both candidates are for types of school choice. Neither are going to take money from Howard Rich. How about we get these two kids together and discuss education ideas, on the merits? Because with Mulvaney rejecting Rich’s largesse, we have that possibility. Now if Norrell will chill for a bit, it could happen.

Mulvaney vows not to take money from millionaire [The Herald]


3 Responses to “Howard Rich’s influence on the wane?”

  1. September 24, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Norrell, a lawyer, said she is open to school choice, but not if it diverts money from public schools.

    I’m from Texas. I am a school choice advocate. I have never met Norrell and can’t vote for her, but if she said what is recorded above, then she is either a bald face liar or out of touch with reality.

  2. 2 lancastermommy
    September 24, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    letschooseschools: in response to Mandy P. Norrell: she is a bald face liar! I am from Lancaster, know her and will not vote for her! It really is sad that she is so good at her lies that older citizens of Lancaster ( a small mill town) believe her just because she has a college education.

    Please see the attached for further insight on her lies:
    When ultra-liberal trial lawyer John Edwards was running for president, he proclaimed S.C. Senate candidate Mandy Powers-Norrell as his “Daisy Duke” of Lancaster County.

    Knowing what we now know about Edwards, we’ll resist the urge to delve into that comment too deeply, but the fact remains that both Powers-Norrell and Edwards are cut from the same liberal cloth.

    Both support abortion, gay marriage, bigger government and higher taxes, and both are slavish devotees to a failed education system that holds South Carolina school children back by the hundreds of thousands each year.

    That’s why we were surprised to read a recent letter in the Carolina Gateway newspaper from Powers-Norrell supporter Stanley Smith, who compared his left-of-center trial lawyer heroine to … wait for it … conservative GOP veep pick Sarah Palin, who by the way opposes abortion, gay marriage, bigger government and higher taxes.

    Nonetheless, here are some excerpts from Smith’s letter:

    Beyond the obvious similarities, both Sarah Palin and Mandy Powers Norrell are attractive candidates … they are both smart and good public speakers … the biggest difference is that Palin is a Republican and Norrell is a Democrat. But that shouldn’t matter to thinking people who want to elect folks who are strong well-grounded conservative leaders.

    Aside from the backhanded “attractive” and “speaks so well” compliments, since when did a John Edwards‘ trial lawyer who supports abortion, gay marriage, big government and higher taxes fit the description of a “conservative leader?”

    Needless to say, Republican women in Lancaster County were thoroughly displeased with the effort by Powers-Norrell supporters to paint their Streisand-style candidate in the mold of a conservative champion.

    “Aside from their gender, these two women have absolutely nothing in common,” reads a response letter drafted by several local GOP women. “As Republicans, we suspect our Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin would cringe to know that her name was being used to try to promote a Democrat candidate as liberal as Mrs. Norrell.”

    Powers-Norrell’s position on social issues was made clear in an e-mail she and her husband sent out on behalf of Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry during the most recent presidential campaign.

    “We are pro-gay and pro-women, we support the ACLU,” the e-mail reads, before launching into a vigorous defense of Kerry’s failure to support a Congressional ban on partial birth abortions.

    Powers-Norrell is currently running against GOP State Rep. Mick Mulvaney in a district that has grown increasingly Republican in recent years. And while polls shows her trailing in the race by double-digits, that hasn’t stopped her from waging the nastiest campaign by any candidate we’ve seen since Republican Catherine Ceips lost her Senate seat in a June 2008 GOP primary.

    In addition to “push-polls” paid for by a national Democratic firm (which were used to spread demonstrably false information about Mulvaney), Powers-Norrell herself has been caught distributing her political propaganda via a most unconventional methodology – the backpacks of South Carolina school children.

    After being invited to speak to a class at Heath Springs Elementary in Lancaster County earlier this summer, Powers-Norrell sent children home with her campaign leaflets in their book bags and instructions to tell their parents to vote for her.

    Dozens of parents raised complaints, but as of yet no formal action has been taken against Powers-Norrell’s campaign for the infraction.

    In a related story, Powers-Norrell was formally rebuked last week for sending unauthorized campaign communications to hundreds of taxpayer-funded e-mail addresses, another campaign no-no.

    Last week, Fort Mill School District 4 informed Powers-Norrell that sending these campaign e-blasts to district computers “is a violation of the Ethics Reform Act.”

    Of course, FITSNews has received reports that her campaign is ignoring this ruling and continuing to send the e-mails, anyway.

    Based on all this, it should come as no surprise that the heart of Powers-Norrell’s campaign is an impassioned defense of South Carolina’s failed education establishment and a singular attack on the notion of parental choice. In fact – other than her gender – that’s pretty much all she talks about.

    “There is an organized effort by out-of-state activists to buy our elections and use the Republican legislators that they get elected to dismantle South Carolina’s public school system,” Powers-Norrell writes on her website. “They try to scare parents into thinking that public schools are inadequate or even dangerous and that the best solution is to give tax dollars to private schools through voucher programs.”

    She also notes that:

    My children, Teddy and Emma, attend a public elementary school and are thriving, both intellectually and socially.

    As sweet as all of this sounds, FITSNews is currently investigating reports that Powers-Norrell and her husband petitioned the Lancaster County School District to have their children transferred from an 85% minority school (Clinton Elementary) to another public school in the district, North Elementary, despite the fact that they were not zoned for this school.

    Which would be just like ultra-liberals … opposing parental choice for everybody but them.

    Another hypocrisy centers around which special interests are funding Powers-Norrell’s campaign – as well as her deliberate efforts to conceal data on her campaign finance reports in an effort to hide their influence.

    State law requires candidates for public office to disclose not only the names of their contributors, but their occupations as well. This requirement is designed to enable the public to see whether or not employees of specific firms or industries are contributing en masse to specific campaigns.

    Powers-Norrell has chosen to ignore this requirement on her disclosure forms, listing only the names of her individual contributors and the date and amount they gave to her campaign.

    Efforts to determine whether or not the State Ethics Commission will require Powers-Norrell to reveal the professional affiliation of her contributors (rumored to be a laundry list of trial lawyers) were unsuccessful, but based on the agency’s established record of failing to enforce the law we’re not holding our breath.

    We’re also not holding our breath that the district’s largest news outlet, the Rock Hill Herald, will actually report on any of this.

    After all, the Herald is owned by the same folks who run Columbia’s La Socialista (a.k.a. The State newspaper), and it’s pretty clear at this point where they stand on things.

  3. September 24, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Let’s hope so. I think South Carolinians can do a better job of working together to solve our problems without his high-dollar meddling.

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