HICKS COLUMN: Let the voter beware
We've got some real winners running for the 1st Congressional District seat.
To hear some of these candidates tell it, their opponents are a bunch of lying, cheating, budget-busting, door-bashing, airport dictators who peddle spare parts from UFOs and get kicked off domestic flights.
And that doesn't even include what Mark Sanford did.
You know what this means, other than the fact that it sounds like all these folks would fit right in with Congress?
It means this is the final weekend before the election.
State Sen. Larry Grooms, one of 16 GOP candidates for Tim Scott's old job (and a target of more mud than he slings), says this is all getting to be a bit much.
“Pointing out things about a candidate's record that doesn't match with what they are saying is one thing,” Grooms says. “But what I'm seeing is giving politicians a bad name.”
Former state Sen. John Kuhn says he was never kicked off an airplane, as one of his opponents is whispering.
“Respectfully, this is the kind of stuff that happens in the last few days of the campaign,” says Lee Ann Rice of the Kuhn campaign. “Attempting to create a 'story' like this is just an act of desperation by our opponents.”
Yeah, that's a big part of it.
Neal Thigpen, the dean of South Carolina political scientists, says the GOP pack is “scrapping for a very few votes.” And they can't do that by talking about the issues, because every last one of them says the same thing — they hate Obama, Obamacare and spending money.
And they all love God and guns, though not necessarily in that order.
So the only way they have to distinguish themselves is to make the other guy look worse.
Sometimes the dirt is just looney, and other times it has the ring of truth to it. Yes, Teddy Turner did kick in the door at his estranged wife's house years ago. The charges were dropped — and forgotten — until a week ago. And why not? How much damage did he really do if it only cost $100 to fix a door on Tradd Street?
We also know that Turner was involved with a company whose chief inventor claimed to be reverse-engineering alien technology. Chip Limehouse made sure we all knew that, in one of the most entertaining mailers in years.
The rest of the story, which Limehouse didn't mention, is that Turner walked away from the company when he realized that his inventor was a space cadet.
Too bad the guy isn't around — he could run for the 1st District seat too.
Survival of the fittest?
There is absolutely no disagreement that this kind of junk keeps a lot of qualified, and sane, people from running for office.
Who wants to be dragged through the mud like this? Because nobody is completely lacking in dirty laundry — especially, it seems, 1st District candidates.
If you don't believe it, you can look at some of the charges against some of them at kuhnforcongress.com, which the candidate has helpfully compiled.
The sad truth here is that most of these folks are running as the anti-Sanford, who is leading in the polls going into the final weekend. Some people claim Sanford can't top 50 percent of the vote, so whoever comes in second has a good chance in the runoff.
As such, they are all trying to climb over each other — and, although it is highly entertaining, it's not pretty.
In the process of thinning the herd, these mudslingers may be cutting off their noses to spite their faces.
“When it gets real nasty, it has a tendency to keep voters away,” Thigpen says.
By that reasoning, maybe we should all stay home on Tuesday.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.