South Carolina independently elects nine
Constitutional Officers, maintains the nation's only Budget and Control Board and diminishes our executive branch even further with the presence of literally thousands of state boards and commissions (all with direct legislative appointment or oversight).
Seriously, a night manager at Burger King has more power than South Carolina's Chief Executive Officer.
Of course, if all of that wasn't tribute enough to horse-and-buggy government and post-Reconstruction racism, consider the runoff election - another antiquated throwback to the good ole' days that requires candidates to receive more than 50% of the vote in our primary elections in order to advance to the general election.
Accordingly, if there's a race with three or more candidates and nobody hits the magic number of 50% plus one vote, the top two candidates come back and face off two weeks later in a head-to-head matchup.
Aside from costing the taxpayers of South Carolina untold thousands of dollars and subjecting us to two more weeks of political ads, runoffs don't make any sense. It's hard enough to get people out to vote once every four years, let alone three times in a single year.
But since our state is about as forward-thinking as Mike Tyson is emotionally stable, here we are stuck with another election to talk about and another round of endorsements to make.LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR - MIKE CAMPBELL
This one is a no-brainer. Andre Bauer is an embarrassment, an opportunist and a liar. If a highly-trained monkey was on the ballot opposite him, we'd be endorsing the monkey.
Fortunately we've got Mike Campbell in the ring, the son of former Gov. Carroll Campbell and a staunch proponent of government restructuring. As expected, Campbell has been the recipient of the typical Rod Shealy, under-the-radar smear campaign, but fortunately none of it has stuck en route to Campbell receiving an impressive 45% of the vote two weeks ago.
Bauer on the other hand received just 37% of the vote on June 13, in large part thanks to questions about his maturity and fitness for office. That's an awful showing for an incumbent. He's also run perhaps the most misleading, exaggeration-laden, blatantly misrepresentative ad of the entire campaign in which he singlehandedly takes credit for tax relief, shorter lines at the DMV and ending filibusters in the Senate. Honestly, Andre could have run an ad saying he walks on water or can fly like Superman and it would have been closer to the truth.
Andre needs to go gently into that good used car business night, and here's hoping South Carolina voters will send him there and give the nomination to Campbell, who will need all the help he can get against Democrat Robert Barber.STATE TREASURER - THOMAS RAVENEL
Thomas Ravenel continues to plow his own path to the GOP nomination, defying conventional wisdom and hammering home a die-hard fiscally conservative message that resonated with voters to the tune of 48% of the primary electorate two weeks ago. That's an amazing showing considering one of his former opponents dropped $2 million of his own money into the race and another was an ex-Majority Leader with a rock-solid grassroots movement.
One of Ravenel's greatest strengths is he could care less what the insider crowd thinks of him - after all, he doesn't need their money, endorsements or favors. Ravenel's speaking to the man on the street, and targeting the wasteful spending, inefficiency and backroom dealing in Columbia better than any candidate has done since Mark Sanford rode the anti-Columbia express to victory four years ago.
But as we all know by now, "That's just how Thomas rolls."
What definitely needs to be "rolled" is the 3-2 big government stranglehold that Hugh Leatherman, Dan Cooper and Grady Patterson currently have on the State Budget and Control Board, and Ravenel is the candidate to do it. He would be a strong voice for change on the board, and unlike his opponent Jeff Willis, Ravenel favors restructuring of Constitutional Officers as well as administrative restructuring to put an end to what he calls South Carolina's "five-headed monster."RICHLAND COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT ONE - BILL MALINOWSKI
Say what? A Richland County Council runoff endorsement? That's right, every once in awhile a race like this comes along where the good guy-bad guy dynamic couldn't be any clearer.
On the white horse in growth-ravaged Northwest Richland County is Bill Malinowski, a former FBI agent and car enthusiast who shocked a lot of local politicos by finishing first overall with more than 43% of the vote against Rod Shealy candidate Jim Holcombe, a well-funded banker whose name might as well be Big Development.
Malinowski has stuck to the issues of planning and safety, while Holcombe's campaign has been in a tailspin ever since it was revealed that he would be ineligible to vote on dozens of County issues due to his wife's employment with the Mungo Company, the most active real estate developer in the region. Holcombe, predictably, has gone Shealy (er, negative) on Malinowski in an effort to stop the bleeding, but Malinowski has third place finisher Donald Driver's endorsement and critical momentum heading into Tuesday's runoff vote.SHANDON DOGCATCHER - SIC WILLIE
In a lesser-known race, Sic Willie and Terry Sullivan each received 49% of the vote in this battle of the hyper-egos, with J.W. Ragley garnering 2% to come in third. Ragley has thrown his weight (which he has a lot of) firmly behind Sullivan, but the latter's whinefest against Thomas Ravenel in the State Newspaper
last week coupled with an admission that he'd never seen Friday
during ETV's 2006 GOP Shandon Dogcatcher Runoff Debate
may have thrown the balance back over to our beloved bad boy.
Sullivan's campaign slogan, "I Wouldn't Vote For Will Folks If He Was Running for Dogcatcher" was also vigorously rebuffed in a recent Palmetto Campaign Watch e-mailed from Folks to thousands of party activists and state employees.
Enjoy your week ... and get out there and vote on Tuesday!