Ethics dispute tossed in District 110 race

An ethics complaint flared up -then was quickly doused -in the District 110 GOP primary, where Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, faces challenger Russell Guerard.

Former Charleston County GOP Chair Lin Bennett filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Guerard, questioning whether his campaign signs and website properly claimed to be funded by his campaign.

Bennett said she did not talk to Limehouse about the matter, adding, "I just sent the letter and asked the questions."

Guerard, who waived his confidentiality in the case, got a letter Thursday saying the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint. The letter, signed by House Ethics Committee counsel Steve Davidson, said the complaint "did not allege facts sufficient to constitute a violation of the Ethics Act."

Guerard said he has never met Bennett, adding he would have thought she would have called him before filing a complaint. "Obviously, she's a big Limehouse person, and she's going to do whatever she can to do make my life more difficult as far as beating him. It's not going to work."

Two years ago, Bennett, then the county's GOP chair, was videotaped asking whether another candidate really wanted to challenge Limehouse in the 2012 GOP primary.

This year's race could be tight: Limehouse edged Guerard by a 68-63 vote in last weekend's Charleston County GOP straw poll.

$50 gets you a Sanford T-shirt

Charleston's Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford may be the only member of South Carolina's D.C. delegation without opposition in 2014, but that isn't stopping him from fund-raising for the future.

This time the draw is a T-shirt.

For a campaign donation of $50 or more, Sanford will send supporters a "limited edition" T-shirt featuring one of the political stars from last year: the plywood campaign sign.

The homemade, painted messages started out as something put together by a supporter who had some extra lumber laying around.

Written on it was the message "Sanford Saves Tax $."

Other variations of the pop-up sign fad - painted by Sanford's political opponents - made light of his troubles as governor.

"Since no one filed to run against us in this year's election, you won't be seeing those signs around this year," Sanford said last week in an appeal that coincided with the one-year anniversary of his return to Congress. "But I do hope you'll grab a shirt instead."

Sanford's most recent Federal Election Commission campaign disclosure report from March listed him with about $380,000 in cash-on-hand.

Who voted against Tim Scott?

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Tim Scott seems to be cruising toward securing the Republican nomination in the June primary against minimal opposition and without breaking a sweat.

But somewhere out there in GOP land are two Charleston County Republicans who aren't in his camp.

Scott, of North Charleston, collected 183 of the possible 185 votes cast during the Charleston GOP's ballot straw poll last week. Meanwhile, his June 10 primary challenger, Randall Young, collected the remaining two votes.

Young has been both an oddity and an absolute no-show on the campaign trail so far, disappearing almost immediately after paying his $10,440 filing fee.

Repeated attempts by various South Carolina media outlets, and GOP leaders, to track him down have been unsuccessful.

What is known is that he ran for a state House of Representatives seat in the Upstate last year, finishing last among the five candidates, with just 24 votes.

Other reports say he has legal troubles and is facing eviction.

Charleston GOP Chairman John Steinberger said he couldn't read the two voters' minds as to why they favored Young over Scott in the straw vote. His best guess?

"There are some people that want to get rid of all the incumbents," he said.