S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell didn’t show for a Monday night candidates forum in his House 114 race, but he is airing a new TV ad showing he isn’t taking his race for granted.
Petition candidate John Steinberger and Green Party candidate Larry Carter Center took a few shots at Harrell related to his campaign war chest and recent reports on his use of that money to reimburse himself for plane trips.
But the two spent most of the 45 minutes talking about other issues close to their hearts.
Harrell previously informed the League of Women Voters that he would be out of town and unavailable. His new TV ad features Harrell, a 10-term incumbent, being praised by fellow Republicans U.S. Rep. Tim Scott and Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, and others.
Both Center and Steinberger called for term limits, and both took jabs at Harrell. Steinberger said House members should not review ethics complaints filed against fellow members, as is currently done. Center complained about Harrell being affiliated with a political action committee that gives money to House candidates.
“There are no leadership PACs in the Senate, but Bobby writes the rules, and he gets the money he wants,” Center said.
Steinberger also vowed to push for the Fair Tax, a plan to eliminate sales tax exemptions and the state’s income tax, to provide a jolt to the state’s economy.
Center vowed to push for raising the minimum wage, saying, “We have wage slave labor in this state.”
The two disagreed on providing vouchers to families who send their children to private schools: Steinberger said he supports them and all school choice; Center said they would take away from public schools.
They also disagreed on government subsidies for public transportation. Steinberger said he believes in a market-based approach; Center decried a lack of public transportation and said he envisions a train running from Charleston to Columbia and perhaps on to Asheville, N.C.
Earlier, the audience of about two dozen heard from Charleston County Council District 6 candidates Vic Rawl, the Democratic incumbent, and Carolyn Hughes, a petition candidate.
Both vowed to push for completing Interstate 526 and voiced opposition to the state’s point-of-sale law reassessing homes when sold.
Hughes said voters should support her because of her private-sector experience and because county taxes are too high, though she cited only two greenbelt projects — a Folly Beach dog park and a Sullivan’s Island walking trail — as examples of waste.
Rawl, a former lawyer, judge and state lawmaker, said he enjoys public service and refuses his part-time councilman salary. He said he would like to continue pushing to streamline local government by consolidating more functions.