A Democratic Forest Acres attorney has announced she will run for the Second District U.S. House seat that has long been occupied by Republican Rep. Joe Wilson.
Adair Ford Boroughs launched her campaign on Wednesday. Originally from the small Barnwell County town of Williston, Boroughs is a Furman University and Stanford Law School graduate. A former math teacher at Mauldin High School, she began her legal career at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and served as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel. For the last three years she has been the executive director of Charleston Legal Access, a nonprofit "sliding scale" law firm aimed at people with moderate means.
Boroughs says she is stepping out of her executive director role at Charleston Legal Access to concentrate on her campaign for U.S. House. She'll still help out the firm on a part-time basis.
The Second District seat is up for election again in 2020.
A 38-year-old wife and mother of two children, Boroughs came out swinging in regard to Wilson, the congressman who was first elected to the Second District seat in 2001. In a video announcing her campaign, Boroughs lambasted Wilson for, among other things, his infamous incident of screaming "You lie!" at President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress in 2009, and, more recently, being duped into saying that toddlers should be armed with guns. The latter gaffe was part of prankster Sacha Baron Cohen's "Who is America?" program on Showtime.
The Second Congressional District includes parts of Richland and Orangeburg counties, and all of Aiken, Barnwell, and Lexington counties. The district has proven to be tough sledding for Democrats in recent years.
In 2018, Wilson easily dispatched Democrat Sean Carrigan by about 14 percentage points. In 2016, Wilson downed Democrat Arik Bjorn by about 24 percentage points.
Despite that, Boroughs says she believes the Second District seat is attainable for a Democrat who can do the work and raise enough campaign cash.
"I've talked to a lot of people, people who voted for him, who said, 'You know what, Joe is well-known, but he's not well respected. All he does is go around town handing out [campaign] key chains,'" Boroughs tells Free Times. "We need someone serious and committed to vote for. I think I'm going to give people that option.
"People in my district have a strong work ethic and they are not impressed with a guy sitting on his laurels collecting a government check and getting nothing done. I think he's very vulnerable on that."
In terms of campaign fundraising, Boroughs says she thinks she can "put up a lot bigger numbers" than other recent Democratic Second District efforts.
"I'm going to wear my canvassing shoes out, pair after pair after pair," she says. "I'll work my butt off to get out in front of voters so they know they'll have a real choice. I think they are ready for that. They are ready to make a different choice."
Having grown up in tiny Wiliston, the daughter of a cabinet maker and a public school teacher, Boroughs says she's familiar with issues facing middle class families.
She notes many are finding it tough to get ahead economically.
"If you look at wage growth in the last 20 years, people in the top 20 percent, they have wage growth," she says. "But the people in the middle, which are the people in my district — this isn't a district with a ton of millionaires — the normal, everyday, working people, they are getting squeezed. They are not seeing the wage growth."
Boroughs says she'd work to address a number of financial issues, including the student loan debt crisis. Currently, Americans collectively have $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.
The attorney says she wants to hear from people across the district about issues that are important to them.
"We'll roll out a platform along the campaign," she says. "It's early enough now, I want to make sure I'm really listening to people and making sure I prioritize issues that are most important and will make their lives better."