Jordan Bryngelson is tall, slender and notably young, with a thick crop of dark hair he keeps closely cut. Ed Carter is shorter and much older, and the gray hair on his round head has a notably receding hairline.
When you hear the two speak at the same event, however, they become identical twins. Neither Bryngelson nor Carter has a campaign platform stance that is in any way distinguishable from the other’s.
They made that clearly known, too, as they stood next to one another at a debate of Republican candidates, held at the Dorchester County Council building in Summerville on April 30.
Both claimed intentions to provide the best of support to the district’s rural areas.
The top priority for both would be new jobs in the district, they said, followed by modifications for improvement to education, which each claimed would be achieved by charter schools and parental school selection (which translates to sending public school funding to private schools, only for the benefit of upper-income families).
Both Carter and Bryngelson swore to support the bizarre “Fair Tax” program (which is so unfair that even the Bush Administration tossed the concept out the window).
And each one promoted himself to be a tried and true conservative, both using the term “100 percent” so often in those self-descriptions that they each exceeded their quota for use of the phrase by 150 percent.
But if there was any notable difference between them that stood out tonight (aside from their age, height and hair), it was in their declarations of faith to the Republican Party.
Not that each one doesn’t have party faith, mind you. It was the way that Carter explained his one-time run as a Democrat that made him not just visibly distinguishable, but maybe even ethically different, from Bryngelson.
In 2000, Carter ran for this same District 97 State House race as a Democrat, winning the primary but losing a very close race in the General Election to Republican candidate David J. Owens.
But that doesn’t mean he ever strayed away from the GOP, he claimed.
“The only time I ever voted for a Democrat was when I ran as a Democrat,” Carter said when asked by Summerville Patch reporter Lindsay Street about that last campaign.
He only ran as a Democrat, he told the packed house of voters, to intentionally mislead voters.
“In 2000, that was a strongly Democratic seat,” Carter explained, a seat being exited by then-incumbent Rep. George Bailey.
(Bailey is currently a county councilman, and who not only openly played the party-switch game himself, but who even tried to run as a candidate in both the Democratic and Republican party primaries in the same election for the same office. That was in ’06, when he was unseated by the now-incumbent Democrat, Rep. Patsy Knight.)
“What we were doing in 2000 was, run as a Democrat, secure the seat. Then when we redrew the (House district) lines and make it Republican, switch parties next year, and make that a Republican seat from then on out.”
And wouldn’t you know it? The Dist. 97 lines were just redrawn to the likings of the Republican Party. The northeast portion, which is dominantly African-American and Democratic-leaning, was pulled out. It’s now in Dist. 104 that’s represented by the African-American Rep. Joe Jefferson; rural white (and very conservative) portions of Colleton County were added to 97 in its place.
“Now with redistricting this year, it looks like it’s going over to lean Republican,” concluded Carter’s excuse.
But did Carter actually conclude the story? Or even come close to an excuse?
Who was the “we” in the “what we were doing” and “when we redrew” statements?
And when at any time in these back-room deals did the interests of voters get considered?
In his excuse, Carter openly admitted that his intentions were not to represent the public, but only his own interests and those of his Republican Party.
Remember, mind you, that both candidates made the same “party, not the public” pledge.
Carter, however, one-upped Bryngelson by admitting to cheap, unethical and deliberately-misleading schemes.
Knight won’t let middle-class tax dollars be used to the pay the private school tuition for children of upper-class families, unlike the declared goals of those Republican candidates. Different from the stances of both Bryngelson and Carter, she doesn’t fall for the “Fair Tax” foolery, either. Separating her from those two even farther, she represents all constituents, not just a political party.
And in distinct difference from Ed Carter in particular – and which he publicly admitted – Knight has not, will not, and never will mislead voters with any cheap, back-room, political trick.