Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Although they didn't vote in anywhere near record numbers (turnout was down 9% from the previous off-year election), 380,000 South Carolinians nonetheless sent more than their fair share of shock waves across the state's political landscape in yesterday's primary elections.

So ... now that your election night euphoria (or hangover) is starting to wear off, FITS would like to welcome you to the following new political realities:

1. Gov. Mark Sanford is in Serious Trouble

We love the gov, but there is no way to spin Sanford's 65% showing against a primary opponent he refused to even acknowledge as anything other than a stunning underachievement. The myth of Sanford's populist invincibility has been shattered, and what should have been a November cakewalk will now be a pitched battle for the future of our state. Sanford isn't down for the count by any stretch of the imagination, but Lovelace's surprise punch has severely wounded him.

2. Stick a fork in Warren Tompkins ...

... cause he's done. We wrote in April about the impending decline of this once-vaunted political strategist and many of you laughed. Well, after the abysmal performances of highly-funded statewide candidates Bob Staton and Greg Ryberg last night, don't say we never learned you nothin'. Having already been turned down by numerous 2008 Presidential contenders, Tompkins double-up on double-digit thrashings at the hands of Karen Floyd and Thomas Ravenel. Sure his testosterone-happy lackeys will point to a couple of State House races they won, but the bottom line is if you're looking to win at the state level this guy is now the last consultant you'd call.

3. The School Choice Litmus Test

While it was a mediocre night on the whole for school choice backers like SCRG, Club for Growth and the newly-formed Conservatives in Action, the school choice issue actually took quantum steps forward last night with Karen Floyd's victory. It's ironic, really. SCRG and the other groups focused on making the contested House races more about incumbent spending than school choice and their slate of candidates ended up underperforming. On the other hand, the media makes Floyd's race a referendum on school choice despite the candidate's initial reluctance to be staked out on the issue and she ends up beating Bob Staton like he stole something.

4. Thomas Ravenel is Your Next Treasurer

Most polls heading into the 4-way GOP Treasurer's primary had Charleston businessman Thomas Ravenel finishing no higher than the mid-30's. Well, he ended up with more than 48% of the vote and almost won the GOP nod without a runoff. Of course, State Senator Greg Ryberg has seen the handwriting on the wall and already conceded the nomination to Ravenel. Both names will still be on the ballot, but Thomas Ravenel is your GOP nominee and barring a miraculous debate performance from Trav Robertson, your next Treasurer.

5. Shealy-fied

Give credit where credit is due. We've dogged on consultant Rod Shealy numerous times in the past but he was without question the big winner last night among South Carolina's top-tier political consultants. Whether it was Lovelace's impressive showing against the governor, the T-Rav juggernaut in the Treasurer's race or keeping his cornerstone client Andre Bauer in the Lieutenant Governor's runoff, Shealy probably went to bed last night a happy man.


Anonymous Tim said...

"It's ironic, really. SCRG and the other groups focused on making the contested House races more about incumbent spending than school choice and their slate of candidates ended up underperforming. On the other hand, the media makes Floyd's race a referendum on school choice despite the candidate's initial reluctance to be staked out on the issue and she ends up beating Bob Staton like he stole something."

I hadn't thought of it that way, but, you know, you may be onto something there.

2:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well well wilbur it was also a bad night for you wasn't it? your boy sanford sucked it up and quinn got, what is it you say, served?

nice work sick willie if we want 18% in a statewide race we will call you.

3:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quinn..served. I don't think so. If anyone got "served" it was Ryberg. Quinn was outspent by huge margins. There is no way to overcome that. Ryberg on the other hand spend a huge sum and is now asking himself "Why?". At least Ryberg has enough of a brain to throw in the towel.

4:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will admit that Thompkins and Co. really took it on the chin, but saying Shealy had a good night is laughable. Losing by 30 is never a good showing and he turned what should have been an easy romp by incumbent Andre into a sure loser in two weeks.

4:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it your blog is the only one where the comments have to be reviewed by you before they are put up? Is this the reason I see less and less comments (and I assume traffic) on your sight?

4:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't mention GOP consultant Robert Cahaly. His 3 statewide clients, Bell, Willis, and McKown all lost.

Also, Shealy was a co-consultant on the McKown campaign, even appearing in a tv ad if you look closely enough.

4:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did any SCRG house challengers win?

7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My fellow Anon - Sanford sucked it up as much as a girl does with Jay W. Ragley - very little. If a chick wants 18% of a real man, maybe she should call you JWR.

8:55 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Dear Anons-

Becky Martin got beat up in Anderson and Ken Clark is in real trouble in Lexington. Jeff Duncan, an incumbent they backed, also won big in Laurens. School choice-backed candidates also picked up a number of the open seats for a 4-5 seat net gain.

Oh, and there's Karen Floyd.

In retrospect, we probably understated the impact of SCRG/ Club/ CIA in our post yesterday.


9:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're a statewide candidate don't call Warren?? Unless you are Jim DeMint, I guess. Remind me again how that one turned out...

12:49 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Dear Anon (Sullivan),

How'd the DeMint race turn out? Well we're glad you asked. Let FITS remind you, Mr. Attack Shi-Tzu.

Well, it started when your client stepped on his own dick with a politically insensitive remark in a debate that succeeded in simultaneously diverting attention from the ass-kicking he was receiving on his tax plan and energizing his social conservative Upstate base.

Then, he got Mark Sanford at the peak of his popularity to tape an extremely effective TV ad with Lindsey Graham that hailed DeMint's fiscal conservatism.

Only it wasn't the viscerally-hateful attack ad you wrote, Terry, because at "pit bull" sic Willie's insistence, the Governor (and a few seconds later Sen. Graham) refused to read your amateur anti-Inez trash talk and instead went with a positive script Sic Willie evidently wrote in the car on the ride over.

Oh yes, Terry, we still remember the steam pouring from your ears on the set as all three candidates read from the Will Folks' script and you did what you do best - fetched candidates their water bottles, massaged your ego and whined a lot.

But yes, with a little help from his friends, your candidate did defeat a liberal, bureaucracy-expanding Education Superintendent who continues to preside over the worst public school system in the entire country.

Nice win,


1:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wow FITS. That is excellent.

1:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Which race did you win this election cycle?

We know you lost your court battle, but I'm curious about the races you consulted on.

3:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think everyone needs to go over to the Back Porch, have a beer, and settle down. We are going to need some alcohol in our system for the 2008 Ravenel-Graham battle royale.

3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

remember the good ole days when politics was just business and wasnt personal. this is getting ridiculous. its polarizing negativity like this that gives politicians and consultants the reputation they have gained.

whether you are on team terry, will, quinn, shealy, whatever...who cares. in the end, its just an occupation. a job. you dont see doctors, construction workers, or bankers acting like this towards each other, do you? no.

the problem is, everyone who works in politics takes themselves too seriously and assumes that other people do the same. wrong. the common person could care less who you are and how many campaigns you have won. get over yourselves and have a beer together.

11:16 PM

Blogger SCPolitico said...

Ahhh Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.

-Ben Franklin

1:40 PM


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