Curtis Bostic and his family live on a 35-acre spread in Ravenel just a few miles off Highway 17.
The Bostics bought the property in 2006 with the idea of making it a retreat for nonprofit organizations, charity groups and churches.
They built their home on the back of the property, and call the rest of the grounds “Peaceful Way.” It's a nice Lowcountry setting — there's a clubhouse, a pond, a playground and picnic area. Thousands of people visit each year.
Bostic, the local attorney and former Charleston County Council member, is one of 16 Republicans running for the 1st Congressional District seat, and you'd think all the folks who use his property would be a natural constituency.
But his own family wouldn't.
You see, turns out that Peaceful Way is not actually in the 1st District.
Just a bit outside
The politicos started whispering about this last week, because a primary with 16 candidates needs a little scandal to cull the field.
It's true, Bostic actually lives in the 6th Congressional District — his house is about eight-tenths of a mile from the 1st District line.
But this isn't really a scandal, because it just doesn't matter.
Legally, that is.
The Constitution says that a representative only has to inhabit the state the district is in, not actually live within its boundaries (which may explain why Andre Bauer is mentioned for just about every congressional seat that comes open). Most members of Congress do live within their district — when they aren't living it up in DC — because, well, it's just smart politics.
Bostic realized he lived outside the district — though he can see it from his house — before he filed to run in the special election.
“People want somebody connected to them to represent them,” Bostic says. “That's reasonable.”
But he argues that he is connected. Bostic works in Charleston, shops here and goes to church here. He's a member of the community, the 1st District community. That's a fair assessment.
But politics has a funny way of determining what's fair.
A stacked deck
The state's 1st Congressional District runs along the coast from south of Georgetown to the Georgia line.
It is almost completely flanked by the 6th District, which Republicans love to hate. Jim Clyburn's gerrymandered district stretches from the Interstate 95 corridor into North Charleston, Charleston and Columbia to gather up enough black voters to make a majority Democrat district.
It's ludicrous. But fact is, the GOP draws that district, and it does it not for Clyburn but to cull Democrats from the other six districts so they all remain safely Republican.
It's ridiculous that the Legislature does this at the expense of dividing communities with like interests. It wasn't always that way. But hey, the party in power wants to stay that way.
Bostic is caught up in a technicality, but he's not dropping out. Truth is, this could hurt him politically among people who don't read the fine print. And that's too bad.
Bostic isn't a carpetbagger — he's just a victim of gerrymandering.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or read his blog at blog.postandcourier.com/brians-blog.
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