Sen. Jim DeMint’s resignation just one month after the recent general election creates an undue expense upon the state, the South Carolina Progressive Network said on January 31.
This coalition of grassroots organizations submitted a formal request that DeMint compensate for the costs of the upcoming special election, which the state Election Commission says will cost approximately $1 million.
Citing records of the Federal Election Commission, the Progressive Network pointed out that DeMint’s political action committee (Team DeMint) had a reported balance of over $800,000. The former senator should offer that balance to the state Election Commission, the letter suggested, “removing that burden from South Carolina taxpayers.”
As a result, South Carolina had to schedule party primaries, potential runoffs and a final election to fill Scott’s now vacant seat.
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“We hope that you agree that paying for this election with campaign money you no longer need would honor both your constituents and your conservative values,” Progressive Network’s letter concludes.
DeMint’s donation would be completely legal, too. Progressive Network directly consulted the FEC, it says, and received confirmation that a contribution from his PAC to the Election Commission in order to pay for the election would be an allowed “public purpose” expense.
The former senator’s PAC could also use this opportunity to balance out its record of donations to groups outside of South Carolina, the Network says.
"In 2010, your PAC gave a total of $1.15 million to Republican parties in eight states other than South Carolina,” Progressive Network’s letter reminds DeMint, but only “$7,500 in contributions to 19 South Carolina county Republican parties and $350,000 to the state Republican Party.
“In 2012, you generously donated $700,000 to the Club for Growth and only $5,000 to the SC Republican Party."
He hasn’t even assumed the office yet, but Tim Scott is already campaigning for his re-election.
Shortly after being appointed this afternoon to fill a soon-to-be empty seat of South Carolina U.S. Senator, an email blast calling for donations to the 2014 race was submitted in bulk.
“It’s truly an honor to have been appointed by Governor Haley to replace Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate,” the message begins.
“We must work together to stand up to the big spenders in Washington. Will you join with me by donating what you can here? I have set a goal of reaching 10,000 contributors in 48 hours and would appreciate your help.”
A postscript to the email concludes “I will have to run for re-election next election. Your support will help ensure we keep this seat in Republican hands.”
Although he takes DeMint’s seat on Jan. 3, Scott will have to be formally elected to the senate position in 2014 to continue what will then be the final two years of the term.
In his appointment acceptance speech, issued at a 12 p.m. press conference from the State House, Scott appeared to focus more on the upcoming election than his duties for the next two years.
“I look forward to taking the opportunity to introduce myself across the state.”
Scott has held office in Charleston County and the Lowcountry’s 1st Congressional District, leaving him rather unknown in other parts South Carolina.
Gov. Nikki Haley should pick comedian Stephen Colbert to replace resigning Sen. Jim DeMint, say South Carolina voters in a recent poll.
Conducted Dec. 7-9 by Public Policy Polling, the Comedy Central network star and South Carolina native was selected by 20 percent, a plurality in the field of nine names mentioned.
The registered voter respondents were asked to choose between Colbert, Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney Gen. Henry McMaster, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Rep. Tim Scott, Rep. Joe Wilson, former Gov. Mark Sanford, and Sanford’s ex-wife Jenny Sanford.
Eleven percent chose “someone else/not sure.”
Colbert might have done better if respondents were more familiar with him, it seems. A separate question asking for personal opinions of the comedian found that 30 percent regard him favorably and 32 percent unfavorably, while a plurality of 38 percent simply don’t know him.
When the 520 respondents are broken down demographically, Colbert’s reception scored highest from Democrats and independents/third party members, voters who chose Obama in the recent presidential election, and respondents who identify themselves as liberal/very liberal.
More women than men supported Colbert assuming the senate seat, as did a majority of those of non-white, non-black ethnicity.
When Colbert is removed from the listing, PPP respondents next chose Jenny Sanford, who stated she was recently contacted by Gov. Haley’s office as one potential candidate.
“If asked, I’d seriously consider accepting the offer,” Sanford said.
When her name joins Colbert’s in removal from the listing, Scott is selected by 19 percent of respondents, followed by McMaster (17 percent) and Gowdy (15). A plurality of 28 percent was left undecided when choosing from that pool of candidates, however.
In Examiner’s poll, Scott led with 23.8 percent. Colbert was tied for third with state Sen. Tom Davis and Gov. Haley, each with 14 percent, and even though Colbert wasn’t specified in the listing.
Joining Colbert in write-ins for the Examiner poll was Linda Ketner, the 2008 Democratic candidate for the 1st congressional district, who was added by 4.8 percent of respondents.
Haley has narrowed down her listing of potential senate replacements to Jenny Sanford, Scott, Gowdy, McMaster, and Catherine Templeton, director of the state Dept. of Health and Environmental Control, according to CNN.
Templeton was selected by 9.5 percent of Examiner’s poll respondents, but wasn’t included in the PPP poll.
With all the ruckus following Sen. Jim DeMint’s resignation and Gov. Nikki Haley’s need to quickly appoint his replacement, a lot of media cite anonymous sources that imply Rep. Tim Scott will get the nod.
An online petition was recently created to encourage Haley to do just that, too.
The petition on the site is quite real, though; signers receive emails with a link to confirm validity. As of 11 a.m. EST, 325 names were accepted on the petition.
“The residents of South Carolina have been suffering long enough and it’s time for someone to put us out of our misery,” the site’s homepage reads. “Many have tried and failed and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the only person for the job is Stephen Colbert.”
Colbertforcongress.com also includes specific supporting arguments geared to Democrats, Republicans and independents.
The incumbent senator announced his resignation yesterday morning. DeMint will become president of the Heritage Foundation in January.
That leaves South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to fill the seat with a replacement for the next two years. Secret sources and government insiders have dropped the names of Rep. Tim Scott, former state Attorney Gen. Henry McMaster, state Sen. Tom Davis and countless others as DeMint’s replacement.
National media were quick to promote the Comedy Central show host, though, as the comedian himself acknowledged on last night’s Colbert Report.
“Now, folks, I’m not going to sit here and say that I should be South Carolina’s next senator, not when so many other people are saying it for me,” Colbert said in character.
He asked viewers to tweet @nikkihaley messages supporting his appointment with the hashtag of “#SenatorColbert”.
A native of the state, Colbert made humorous attempts to run in South Carolina’s presidential primary races in 2008 and 2012, but didn’t appear on the ballots in either year.
Rumors that sister Elizabeth Colbert-Busch was being recruited to run for the 1st Congressional District circulated earlier this year, too. The director of business development for the Clemson University Restoration Institute, Colbert-Busch didn’t enter the race.
Effective beginning January, he’ll become the new president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that promotes small government and free enterprise.
"It's been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it's time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America's future,” he stated in a press release announcement.
“I've decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas.”
Scott supporters shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet, though, says DeMint spokesperson Wesley Denton.
“Sen. DeMint has no favorites as our state has a deep bench of conservatives,” Denton told The Hill. “This is Gov. Haley’s decision alone and he trusts her to make a great choice.”
Other rumors insinuate that Haley will seek the office herself. With dwindling reputation and public support, Haley is anticipated to face primary challengers in the 2014 gubernatorial election. A move to a new office could help her overcome voter dissent.
However, an incumbent governor can’t nominate him- or herself. Haley would have to resign, and then be appointed by her replacement, Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell (Rep.).
While still President Pro Tem of the state senate, however, McConnell sparred frequently with Haley, indicating no allegiance between them.
Other rumored nominees include: her deputy Chief of Staff Ted Pitts; former state Attorney Gen. Henry McMaster (Haley’s primary opponent in 2010); state Dept. of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton; former Ambassador David Williams; state Rep. Nathan Ballentine; state Sen. Tom Davis; former state GOP Chair Katon Dawson; and Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina’s 5th Congressional Dist.
DeMint remains vocal in the Senate, though, even after announcing his resignation. This afternoon, he tweeted an angry response to House leader Rep. John Boehner’s budget proposal.
He was first elected to U.S. Senate in 2004 after serving six years as U.S. Representative from the state’s 4th Congressional Dist.
Others are not as sympathetic in evaluation of Romney’s statement, however, stating this morning’s quote only exemplifies the focus of his campaign.
“His separation of ‘the very poor’ from the category of ‘Americans’ made it pretty clear that Romney doesn’t count them as citizens of our country,” said Deborah Mortellaro, a state delegate of the South Carolina Democratic Party.
“Romney knows the very poor aren’t going to vote for him,” Mortellaro continued, “so they don’t matter very much to him.”
In evaluation of his campaign’s platform statements, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that Romney’s national budget proposals would substantially cut from programs benefiting poverty, such as Medicaid, food stamps and SCHIP.
A Citizens for Tax Justice analysis found Romney’s income tax proposals would result in 40-percent cuts from the tax obligations of wealthy Americans.
A majority of U.S. households that earn less than $50,000 annually and that claim children as tax deductions would have a tax increase under Romney’s plan, according to the Tax Policy Center.
At the moment, South Carolina’s Sen. Jim DeMint is only thinking about entering the next presidential race, but he could be counterproductive to the state’s Republican Party if he does.
A recent survey of Palmetto State voters, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that Obama would lose South Carolina in a General Election by six and seven percent if facing major potential candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, respectively.
The spread between the president and DeMint, however, is only two percent – 45-47 in favor of the senator. With a remaining eight percent undecided, the doors would be wide open for Obama to become the first Democrat to win South Carolina’s electoral votes since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
The same survey also reports Obama leads in the state over Sarah Palin (47-41) and Newt Gingrich (44-43).
DeMint told media “no, I’m not” running for president on January 26, less than one week after placing sixth in the New Hampshire Straw Poll without any campaigning.
The very next day, however, his advisers said the possibility was still open, and state GOP consultant Terry Sullivan said DeMint “would certainly be the odds-on favorite here.”
According to another recent PPP survey, Republican voters would select DeMint in a South Carolina presidential primary race with 24 percent of the vote, followed by Huckabee (20), Romney (17), Palin (12), Gingrich (10), Ron Paul (4), Tim Pawlenty (3) and Mitch Daniels (2 percent).
Without DeMint in the lineup, the order would remain the same with Huckabee taking a 26 percent plurality.
In South Carolina’s 2008 GOP presidential primary, Huckabee came in a close second (29.8 percent) to winner and eventual nominee Sen. John McCain (33.2 percent). Romney, who was endorsed by DeMint, placed fourth in that election, three-tenths of a percentage point behind Fred Thompson’s third-place 15.6.
McCain went on to take South Carolina in the ’08 General Election, leading Obama by nine percent.
The recent news and rumors resulted in a “Draft Jim DeMint” group, which now has a website covering progress on DeMint’s potential campaign.
South Carolina should host the fourth of national GOP presidential primary elections in 2012, taking place after February 18 and before March 5 of that year.
Progressive Blue in the Red State of South Carolina