S.C. Democrats fail to capitalize

Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

If the S.C. Democratic Party was going to have a big election cycle for the first time since the ’98 wave, it was going to be this year. President-elect Barack Obama and the DNC put tens of thousands of dollars into the state. There was set to be an unprecedented turnout of black and Democratic-leaning young voters.

And, true to form, the SCDP dropped the ball.

Yes, the races in SC-1 and SC-2 were closer than expected, but as they say, it ain’t horseshoes and it ain’t hand grenades. Obama performed better than Sen. John Kerry, but, Phil Noble excepted, nobody expected anything less than an easy win by Sen. John McCain in this state.

The chances really came in the few contested general election General Assembly races. Dems won three — three — races that were close. Greenwood Mayor Floyd Nicholson beat the odds and kept retiring Sen. John Drummond’s seat, despite a strong showing from County Councilman Dee Compton. Anne Peterson-Hutto upset Rep. Wallace Scarborough. Anton Gunn put his skills on display in HD-79 and proved retiring Rep. Bill Cotty right: without Cotty running, the seat flipped.

Slim pickings in a major Democratic year. Mandy Powers Norrell lost to Rep. Mick Mulvaney in a hotly-contested Senate race. Dems have been able to perform in the Lancaster area, but not this time.

The SCGOP, in one of the worst cycles for Republicans in some time, showed that, as Vierdsen has said before, it’s the only game in town.

Sen. Kevin Bryant fended off Marshall Meadors by 11 points. Sen. Shane Massey, in a seat that was Democratic for years, beat Greg Anderson by about eight. Of the other few contested seats, the GOP was pretty successful in giving Democratic incumbents a run for their money.

As we’re seeing with the Republican leadership in the U.S. House, getting beat means you reevaluate who your leaders are, clean house and create a new plan of action.

Why is it that, after five consecutive cycles of getting their asses handed to them, the party activists in the state Democratic Party aren’t lobbying for a total overhaul of the party leadership? They must not want to win, or enjoy not having the responsibility of being in the majority.

Here’s a prediction for you: unless Jim Rex stays put and gets another nutjob to run against him, you can mark it down that Republicans will sweep the statewide offices in 2010.


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