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South Carolina State House

Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, widely considered to be a presidential candidate in 2020, will speak on Jan. 21 at the South Carolina NAACP’s annual King Day at the Dome rally, according to The State. Booker, the New Jersey senator and former mayor of Newark, last appeared in Columbia in October ahead of the midterm elections, when he spoke at a rally at Allen University. Other presidential candidates could also appear at the King Day event, according to NAACP officials. — Chris Trainor

Democratic Operative Heading Up SC ‘Draft Beto’ Group

Tyler Jones, one of the leading Democratic political consultants in South Carolina, has been tapped to head up a group supporting the idea of a 2020 presidential run by Texas U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who nearly toppled Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in a 2018 election. According to The Post and Courier, Jones is the new state director for Draft Beto. The group will look to raise $1 million in an effort to convince O’Rourke to jump into a campaign. “Beto has all the qualities of a candidate who can rewrite the map and win in places that we haven’t won in decades,” Jones says. “I just think he’s our generation’s Bobby Kennedy. ... There aren’t many potential candidates that can inspire voters of all ages and races and ideologies, but Beto is certainly on the top of that list.” Charleston’s Jones and his consulting firm, SPEAK Strategic, were at the center of one of the biggest South Carolina political upsets in a generation in 2018, as he advised Democrat Joe Cunningham in his U.S. House First District race against Republican Katie Arrington. Cunningham stunned Arrington in that race, becoming the first Democrat in four decades to capture the First District seat. —Chris Trainor

Nikki Haley Had to Get a New Twitter Account

Outgoing United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley lost 1.67 million followers when she changed her Twitter account last week — but she’s already back up to more than 344,000 since Jan. 1. Haley, a former two-term governor of South Carolina, complained that she’d had to stop using her old Twitter account because of an Obama-administration rule that says senior officials can’t use their personal social media for State Department business — so they won’t gain any personal benefit from having done so after they leave government. But that policy didn’t just come into play this week. A 2017 Buzzfeed report suggested Haley and other senior officials were skirting government policy by using their personal accounts to conduct State Department business, and using staff to help manage the accounts. Politico raised the same concerns earlier this year, suggesting that Haley’s account blurred the lines between political, personal and policy tweets — though a spokesperson for Haley’s office told Politico that the ambassador worked with State Department officials to make sure her account complied with social media rules. — Eva Moore

Clyburn Says Trump Holding Americans ‘Hostage’ With Government Shutdown

Longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn says citizens are being held “hostage” by President Donald Trump’s insistence on getting billions of dollars to help build a wall at the southern border. A shutdown of the federal government stretched into its third week as Democrats and Republicans are at a stalemate over the wall funding. “Not only are 800,000 federal employees’ livelihoods in the balance, millions of Americans are suffering the consequences of this Trump Shutdown,” Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, said in a Jan. 6 statement. “The American people ought not be the president’s hostages over his ill-advised and ill-defined border wall.  He is demonstrating with every day that passes that he is ill-equipped to negotiate his way out of this self-imposed crisis, and the American people are paying the price over his inability to govern.” — Chris Trainor

No Charges After Man Shot Dead at Rosewood Drive Shopping Center

A 30-year-old man was shot to death Jan. 5 in Columbia, but police say there will be no charges filed in the case. The incident happened Jan. 5 in the parking lot of a Rosewood Drive shopping center. “According to witnesses, two men were arguing inside of a business. The argument carried out into the parking lot where the deceased man was initially armed with a knife and made threats prior to retrieving a handgun from his vehicle,” the Columbia Police Department said in a release. “He’s accused of discharging the firearm at the man he argued with, who in turn returned fire resulting in the fatal injury.” WLTX and WIS have reported that the argument began inside The Little Gym at a kid’s birthday party. Police say, after consulting witnesses and local prosecutors, the shooting death was determined to be self-defense. — Chris Trainor

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