The Charleston area elected a new mayor in Mount Pleasant — Linda Page — and said goodbye to conservative political figure John Graham Altman last week, who passed away on Election Day after a long period of declining health. In other political news:
Alvin Greene all over again
Look for S.C. Democrats to set up a system of background checks for statewide and federal candidates.
Stung by the Alvin Greene fiasco of 2010, party leaders have opted to create a screening process to both detect and discourage those with baggage from launching a campaign.
Party Chairman Jaime Harrison described the vetting as low key, beginning with an Internet search into someone’s legal history.
If something odd is found “we’ll allow the candidates to come in and make clarifications to the executive committee,” he said.
A political party cannot legally reject someone from the ballot in South Carolina if they pay their filing fee. But a negative background check could result in a widely publicized vote of “no confidence,” Harrison said, or some other type of party censure.
A recent concern among some party faithful is the potential candidacy of Jay Stamper, who’s kicking around a run for U.S. Senate next year as a Democrat.
Stamper, according to media reports, recently moved into South Carolina from Washington state and has a history of legal troubles out West.
Landing in the state and soon announcing a Senate bid “on that alone it sends up red flags to me,” Harrison said.
One worried Charleston Democrat said of a potential Stamper candidacy “it’s Alvin Greene all over again.”
Greene, an Army veteran with no political experience, stunned the state by winning the Democrats’ Senate primary nomination in 2010. Voters later learned he faced a pornography charge for allegedly showing questionable computer material to a University of South Carolina coed.
Believe it or not, South Carolina has a shortage of oyster shells needed to dump back into the estuaries as magnets for attracting and growing new colonies.
So last week, Charleston County lawmakers approved spending $19,000 to have 10,000 bushels of shucked oysters imported here so they can be dropped into local public shellfish grounds.
But there was a sticking point.
State Rep. Chip Limehouse wasn’t going to support the plan until he first knew where the foreign-born oysters were coming from.
His reluctance? Getting oysters from the Gulf Coast that could possible taint South Carolina’s crop.
“They had an oil spill there a few years back,” said Limehouse, R-Charleston. Plus, there are concerns about Gulf bacteria, he added.
Turns out that the shells will come from North Carolina, which Limehouse said is close enough in safe biology to get along here. The money was approved.
Minority representation grows in Charleston
Last week’s Charleston City Council election resulted in an increase in black political representation on the body by one seat.
Rodney Williams’ victory over incumbent Blake Hallman in Council District 2 centered in West Ashley means blacks will hold five of council’s 12 seats.
Overall, Charleston’s population is 120,422 according to the 2010 Census, which breaks down to about 70 percent white and 25 percent black.
Williams will be sworn-in to office in January, city officials said.
André Bauer returns
Former Lt. Gov. André Bauer resurfaced in the news last week when he was appointed to the Medical University of South Carolina’s Board of Visitors.
Members are nominated by the trustees of the university and serve as “ambassadors” in their respective regions. Bauer was nominated by Dr. Charles Thomas. The appointment is not a paid position, a spokesperson said.
Bauer’s resume says he’s currently president of Bauer Enterprises and co-owner of Myrtle Beach Speedway.
The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce is expanding its advocacy by getting involved in more elections.
The chamber’s Political Action Committee began by vetting county school board candidates but expanded its activities this year by endorsing candidates in the Mount Pleasant and Charleston municipal elections.
It’s unclear exactly how much the endorsements helped, but four of its six candidates prevailed, including Mount Pleasant Mayor-elect Linda Page and Town Councilmen-elect Elton Carrier and Paul Gawrych. Also, Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings.
However, it also backed Mount Pleasant Town Council candidates Timm Gipe and Ben Bryson, who lost to Gary Santos and Mark Smith.
The chamber plans to expand its advocacy next year by weighing in on statewide races.
Yahoo! editor to speak here Monday
Beth Fouhy, senior political and national editor for Yahoo! News in Washington, will talk politics Monday evening at The Citadel.
Fouhy joined Yahoo! News a year ago after more than a decade at the Associated Press, where she covered former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary bid, and the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fouhy also has worked for CNN and was a Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University. Her talk is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Citadel’s Jenkins Hall Auditorium. The public is invited.
GOP getting ground game going
Hope Walker, who served as political director last year for the S.C. Republican Party, now will serve as the state director — a job where she will focus on person-to-person grass roots organizing and get-out-the-vote operations.
It’s part of the Republican National Committee’s new model, which aims to build the party from the bottom-up, with staff and volunteers focused on communicating and engaging with voters at the precinct level.
State GOP Chair Matt Moore said Walker’s experience will be “invaluable,” adding, “South Carolina is a solid red state — but we must work hard to keep it that way.”
RNC Chair Reince Priebus said the committee is working on ground organizing earlier than ever in its hope to take back the U.S. Senate and keep GOP control of the House.
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