Posts Tagged ‘Lee Bright

04
Jan
09

Spartanburg’s house divided


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Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

One of the major battlegrounds in the 2008 Republican primary races was Spartanburg County, and now it looks like the enmity among different groups in the Upstate is carrying on into this years legislative session.

According to a story in Sunday’s Herald-Journal, the Spartanburg delegation is sparring over appointments that were made in August of last year. For people not used to the arcane rules of state government, local delegations have power to appoint some local officials.

However, part of the problem is that Gov. Mark Sanford will not approve the appointments because seven of the 13 members are freshmen (not exactly an efficient way to run the government, Guv — rules are rules).

So, now, there are apparently two chairmen of the delegation, though only one is legit, according to state law. Rep. Lanny Littlejohn, by the rule that a simple majority of seven is required for an election, is the chairman. However, Sen. Lee Bright, Sen. Glenn Reese, Sen. Shane Martin and Rep. Joey Millwood seem to have done their own thing and given Millwood (God help us) the chairmanship.

For a total account of the bizarre, you have to see the story:

Many of the nine remaining delegation members, however, said they had not been contacted about the appointments and said they were unaware of the changes. Sanford again refused to sign off, saying he wanted all members to be aware of the changes.

“From a legal standpoint, the bare minimum was met to make the new list legal,” Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said. “But we were concerned that all members had not seen the list.”

Martin said the others had been consulted.

“The problem is they have trouble following the law,” Martin said. “Now it seems they have trouble with the truth. We (Bright, Martin and Reese) have businesses to run, and Representative Millwood has a job. We don’t have time to fool with these good ol’ boys. We’re going to move forward and do what is best for Spartanburg. It’s not right to leave these fire department and other board members wondering whether they’ve been appointed.”

Rep. Steve Parker, also a business owner, said he was not informed of the changes. Rep. Keith Kelly, an attorney, and Rep. Rita Allison, a former Sanford employee, also said they were in the dark.

“I guess I’m a good ol’ girl,” Allison said. “They do have the weighted majority, and that’s not a problem with me. But nobody ran anything past me or asked me to sign off on anything.”

The four also did not contact the seven August appointees they removed. Bright said he thought the Governor’s Office would notify them. [Ed. note: Yeah, this guy is a smarty.] Sawyer said the Governor’s Office would only contact those appointed, and only after the governor signs off on the appointments.

Cheryl Jeter Jones, who was appointed to the Department of Social Services Board in August, learned from the Herald-Journal that the four had replaced her with Jimmy Tobias, Martin’s Democratic opponent in the November election.

Jeter Jones, a longtime community activist, said she was operating under the assumption that the application deadline was Jan. 26, as she was told in the letter from Littlejohn, and that the appointments would be made Feb. 2.

When asked why the four had decided to replace Jeter Jones with Tobias, Bright said: “It’s good to have a set of fresh eyes to look at things sometimes.” He was unaware that Jeter Jones also was a first-time appointment.

Oh, man — it’s like Bright is Charlie in the Flowers for Algernon’s denouement. If Sawyer is to be believed, though, it is good to see that the governor isn’t totally brain-dead about this issue.

One thing is for sure — Rep. Keith Kelly isn’t going to let four members usurp power from the other nine.

Millwood, who was elected chairman of the four at a meeting they held on Nov. 24 – a meeting that might have violated a state law that defines a quorum as a simple majority of the body, which would be seven members – on Friday sent a letter to all delegation members saying he has called a meeting for 7 p.m. Thursday in County Council chambers to address the appointments.

Kelly said that’s not going to happen.

“There’s no such thing as a chairman Millwood,” Kelly said. “So he has no authority to call a meeting.”

Game on.

Appointments divide delegation [Herald-Journal]

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28
Sep
08

Howard Rich friends don’t know what they’re talking about


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Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

It’s funny when imbeciles like Lee Bright and Joey Millwood have to answer actual questions. They’ve taken an enormous amount of money from Howard Rich, say they’re for school choice, but can’t seem to answer simple questions.

Bright:
Bright said he didn’t make any promises to Rich or his groups to get the money. He said he never spoke to Rich.

“We’re like-minded individuals who are for less government, and he knew my stance from the debates,” Bright said. “But I made no commitments, other than to make South Carolina a better place for my family and other families.”

He didn’t say how Rich knew his positions from his debates with Talley. Most were sparsely attended, and the audience consisted largely of supporters of the two campaigns.

Millwood:
When asked how low-income students would benefit from a tax credit plan, Millwood said, “I’ll have to get back to you.” He said there were “a lot of student grant organizations out there,” but when asked where they were he said he didn’t know and that he’d never looked into it.

Nice.

Who is Howard Rich? [The Herald-Journal]

25
Jun
08

Machine guns, mustard gas, trench foot: just another S.C. election year


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Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

That was quite something. And, at the same time, nothing. The one conclusion that can be made coming out of the end of the primary season is that in the on-going war for control of the Republican party, there is no victor in this battle.

Perhaps the biggest representation of this meme can be seen by two Senate races – Sen. Jake Knotts beat Katrina Shealy by 14 points, and Gov. Sanford’s former chief of staff, Tom Davis, ousted Sen. Catherine Ceips.

Or, if you look at it from the S.C. Club for Growth endorsements, those candidates went 9-8. The odd number keeps it from being right at .500, but considering the win was Lee Bright and the loss was Katrina Shealy, that looks damn close to 50-50.

The consulting firms that picked up most of the work for the governor’s anointed candidates – Starboard and Sandlapper – had horrible primary records. Everybody else broke near 50 percent, except for First Tuesday, which won all its General Assembly races with the exception of Rep. Scott Talley in Senate 12. That is a big loss, however.

One of the surprises of the night had to be David Herndon laying the wood to Sheri Few in House 79. The fact that she won’t make it to the general election is undoubtedly a major blow for SCRG, since she was the most visible pro-voucher candidate in an election year when those sort of candidates weren’t playing up that issue.

In the end, though, everybody seemed to get a big win or two, a big loss or two, and now candidates, consultants and third-party groups are retreating to their respective lines to retrench and get ready for the next assault.

Knotts, Herndon score big wins [The State]
Few built a bigger war chest, but Herndon is GOP’s House nominee [The State]
Bright defeats Talley [The Herald-Journal]
Martin topples Ritchie [The Herald-Journal]
Young wins House 81 seat [Aiken Standard]
Sanford? Jake? No Republicans here [Brad Warthen’s Blog]
SC Legislative Races – Consultant Roundup [The Shot]
Lexington votes [Barbecue & Politics]
2008 runoff recap [The Blogland of Earl Capps]
House leadership vacancies – the second shootout? [The Blogland of Earl Capps]

24
Jun
08

Runoffs to turn tide in GOP civil war


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Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

It all comes down to today, on which the Republican primary runoffs for certain General Assembly seats will make the final designation as to if Gov. Mark Sanford and his friends won a marginal victory or suffered a marginal defeat.

The main event, to be sure, is the battle between Sen. Jake Knotts and former Lexington County GOP chairman Katrina Shealy. Sure, Shealy’s been backed by New York real estate magnate Howard Rich (SCRG, et. al.) and Sanford’s wealthy Lowcountry pals (S.C. Club for Growth, Carolinians for Change), and that’s given her a lot of momentum. However, Knotts has a good enough record among his constituents that it shouldn’t have gone this far.

The blame has to lay at the feet of his consultant, Rod Shealy, who managed to properly piss away Sen. Catherine Ceips’ chances against Tom Davis, and did such a horrible job with Rep. Carl Gullick that he only beat what amounted to a straw man by four points.

The truth is, though, Lexington County (outside of the nouveau-riche suburbs) doesn’t like Sanford or his people. And, who is more motivated to turn out – the irritated redneck, or the Michelob-drinking, polo-wearing, country club-attending faux bubba? The smart money is on Knotts’ people to turn out, allowing Jake to spank Sanford’s ass for another couple years.

Of the four undercard battles (Dee Compton v. Chip Stockman notwithstanding), the most interesting is Rep. Scott Talley v. Lee Bright in Senate 12. What makes it interesting is that Talley’s a smart guy, a fiscal conservative and a principled man, Bright’s an utter moron, and it’s still as close as it is. The only reason Bright can overcome his complete incompetence is that he’s running with the full faith and credit of Club for Growth and Sanford.

Talley’s consultants, First Tuesday, have an undefeated record against Club/Sanford candidates this cycle, while Bright’s people, the Quinns, have managed a so-so record on June 10. One thing is for certain, though – there are enough incompetents at the State House without adding Bright to the mix.

In another First Tuesday-Quinns faceoff, Tom Young is taking on Scott Singer in Aiken. Young should take this one, even with Singer being a signatory to the “hit list” proposal‘s “Contract for Change.” Young had a healthy lead in the first round of voting, so getting 50+1 shouldn’t be so hard.

In House 79, we’ll see if the GOP will be able to retain Rep. Bill Cotty’s seat. David Herndon, the moderate, stands the best chance at keeping the district Republican during a brutal general election effort against Democrat Anton Gunn. Sheri Few, who tried to take out Cotty the last time, not so much.

If Few is able to defeat Herndon, more than a few (no pun intended) Republicans in Columbia’s northeast will be helping Gunn’s effort, helping to tip the balance to the Democrat. There’s a real disconnect up there between your average Republican and the stone-cold crazies that back Few’s campaign. This one shapes up as a Rod Shealy, Jr.-Starboard Communications battle. And, much like Bright, we don’t need another wingnut downtown every six months.

As for Senate 13, that one’s over. Shane Martin, “the quiet man,” let Max Hyde whup up on Sen. Jim Ritchie, then stuck to the high road with his NASCAR events and NASCAR money. And, because of Ritchie’s mismanagement of his ambition for higher office, he’s going to get nailed today.

Our State Senate Runoff picks: Knotts, Martin, and a Toss-up [The Blogland of Earl Capps]
Runoff: Few and Herndon vie to face Democrat Gunn [The State]
Voters return to polls; Knotts, Shealy respond to each other’s attacks [WIS]
Runoff: Knotts, Shealy in heated rematch [The State]
NOW DeMint’s making things LESS clear [Brad Warthen’s Blog]
Young pushes job growth, education [The Augusta Chronicle]

23
Jun
08

LOL Pols: Runoff Update Edition

i-can-haz-legeizlatur

Few, Herndon race for House competitive [The State]
High Lexington County voter turnout expected [The State]
What’s a ‘Good Old Boy’ to you? [The State]
Sanford Watch [The State]
Candidates gear up for runoffs [The Herald-Journal]
Singer and Young to tussle over House seat on Tuesday [Aiken Standard]




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