It’s pretty rare for the numbers in a fundraising battle between political candidates in South Carolina to more closely resemble the multi-million dollar reporting of weekend movie box office grosses. But, more and more, the U.S. Senate race between Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison is shaping up to be a blockbuster. According to reporting from The Post and Courier’s Jamie Lovegrove, Harrison brought in $7.36 million in campaign cash during the first quarter of 2020, while Graham hauled in $5.6 million. Both figures shattered the previous single-quarter state fundraising record that had been set by Graham in the last quarter of 2019 ($3.9 million). “We’re so grateful for this outpouring of support from everyday people who are looking for leadership that puts them first,” Harrison campaign spokesman Guy King says, according to Lovegrove. Meanwhile, Graham’s camp notes that his haul came despite the cancellation of some fundraisers because of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and the onset of COVID-19. Graham, who went from calling Trump a “xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot” to being his golfing buddy in just a few short years, is seeking his fourth term as a U.S. senator.
A resolution for Santee Cooper after VC Summer debacle will have to come later
The shuttering of a multi-billion dollar expansion to the VC Summer nuclear station, and the subsequent fallout, continues to be the dumpster fire that just keeps on burning in South Carolina. As reported by Avery Wilks at The Post and Courier, it now appears that efforts to fix state-owned utility Santee Cooper, which squandered $4 billion in the VC Summer fiasco, will have to wait for later. As noted by Wilks, some officials have advocated for selling the embattled utility, but that course of action hasn’t gained the necessary momentum. Meanwhile, measures the Legislature might take to reform Santee Cooper in a way that would prevent future debacles would have to wait until the fall, or perhaps even next year, after the coronavirus derailed this year’s regular legislative session. “Fighting about Santee Cooper right now is tone deaf,” Republican state Sen. Shane Massey says, per The Post and Courier. Some legislators continue to insist the utility can be reformed. “People are upset. I get that,” state Sen. Brad Hutto says. “But it’s like you take a whipping in a [college football] bowl game. Do you want to relive that thing over and over again, or do you want to get out and recruit and train for next year?” If the VC Summer debacle was a bowl game, it would be the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
Richland deputy tests positive for coronavirus
A Richland County Sheriff’s Department deputy has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Facebook announcement from Sheriff Leon Lott. The deputy in question reportedly is not a patrol deputy who would normally respond to incidents. The deputy began feeling sick on April 8, and was sent home. He got tested for COVID-19 on April 13, and on April 16 that test came back positive. This was the first full-time deputy at RCSD to test positive for the coronavirus. A volunteer reserve deputy previously had the virus, and has since recovered. “As COVID-19 continues to spread within Richland County, we’d like to assure citizens that our deputies are provided with the best equipment to protect them and the public during their daily interactions,” Lott says in the post. Lott says deputies have access to protective gear and hand sanitizer, and that the department’s vehicles and buildings have been decontaminated.