If you’ve never followed South Carolina politics, now may be a good time to start. I keep an eye on the Palmetto State since much of my family lives there. Usually there’s not too much going on (relatively speaking of course…it is still politics), but lately things there have gotten interesting.
Earlier this month, Jim DeMint announced that he will be resigning his seat in the Senate to take a job leading the Heritage Foundation. That does a couple things.
First, it opens up a spot for Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s Governor, to appoint someone to the Senate. I’ve seen a number of reports of her approval rating not being great, so it’s an opportunity for her to appeal to the base with a smart decision. Her decision on DeMint’s replacement could impact her reelection efforts, so she’ll be choosing carefully.
Second, it makes 2014 an interesting year in South Carolina politics where both U.S. Senate seats from South Carolina will be up for grabs. Incumbent imbecile Lindsey Graham will be seeking another term in Washington, and Haley’s appointment to DeMint’s seat will have to run to stay in office. And Haley is up for reelection, too, so DeMint’s successor could really impact Haley’s future.
Haley’s choice was made known yesterday when it was announced that she will appoint Congressman Tim Scott to replace DeMint. So Scott will take office in January and almost immediately begin campaigning to stay in the seat. It seems reasonable that he’d draw a primary challenger for 2014. Who might challenge him could be an interesting question.
Lindsey Graham should also count on a primary challenge for 2014. Whether a strong challenger would choose to run against Graham or Scott will be interesting to watch. From where I’m sitting, it seems that Scott would be an easier target, but it’s past time for Graham to go home for good. I’m still holding onto the hope that a solid candidate challenges Graham.
But it’s not just the Senate seat that becomes interesting with DeMint’s departure. They’ve got to have a special election to fill Scott’s seat in the House. So who might be interested in that seat? A few names have already surfaced:
Teddy Turner – Ted Turner’s son Teddy is going to run for the seat vacated by Scott. He’s the Republican son of a crazy liberal, so it’ll be interesting seeing him embrace his father’s name recognition while simultaneously distancing himself from Dad’s political views.
Mark Sanford – former South Carolina governor whose political career ended after he was discovered “hiking the Appalachian trail” while in office. I can’t imagine he’d win this – or any – race in the Palmetto State anytime soon, but I always appreciated his libertarian points of view when they surfaced.
Jenny Sanford – former wife of the aforementioned Mark. I don’t know what her chances in that race would be, but you’ve got to figure she’d kill her ex-husband’s shot at making a decent appearance on Election Day.
Paul Thurmond – Paul is the son of Strom Thurmond, who represented South Carolina in the Senate for nearly a half century. If he his anything at all like his late father, he’ll be interesting to watch.
So this open seat in the House could be a race with 2 people running on their family’s name and 2 people formerly from the same family. I know politics is supposed to be crazy, but this race could outrank even the most popular season of Survivor. All of that, on top of two U.S. Senate races that are also likely to be in the spotlight, will make for quite an interesting election season for South Carolina.