Mark Sanford, from Tea Party to Sea Party

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., has been a Tea Party favorite for his anti-big-government stances, but last week he played a role at a news conference on behalf of the Sea Party.

Sanford appeared at a news conference in Washington that drew a variety of different interests from the political left and right who oppose the Obama administration’s plans for testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic waters off their home states.

Sanford said he took part because he felt it was important that “people get their voices heard.” In April, the state’s former governor went on record as being against seismic testing and drilling for oil and natural gas off the South Carolina coast.

The Sea Party press conference was held in front of the U.S. Capitol and next to a 90-foot life-size inflatable blue whale “representing healthy, oil-free seas,” the Sea Party Coalition said.

Dozens of municipalities along the Atlantic coastline have passed resolutions opposing testing and drilling for the presence of fossil fuels, including the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach, among many others in South Carolina.

For those interested in quickly learning what unfolded on Election Day, the exit polling done by the University School of the Lowcountry continue to provide a reliable guide.

The school’s polls — done by 70 students interviewing hundreds of voters exiting about 13 large polling sites — predicted businessman John Tecklenburg would come out on top in Tuesday’s Charleston mayoral balloting, followed by state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis.

That’s exactly what happened, though the final margin was much closer (36-35) than the school’s result (40-28).

Head of School Jason Kreutner said the margin was skewed in part because the polling sample overrepresented voters on Daniel Island, where Tecklenburg ran very strong.

As the actual results were counted, Stavrinakis held the lead, and Kreutner was worried about a big miss. “As the night came to a close and Tecklenburg pulled ahead, I heard from some of the kids who said, ‘We did it!’ ”

The school also missed by forecasting the passage of Mount Pleasant’s recreation referendum (which narrowly failed), but it did accurately predict the outcome in the at-large Town Council races.

“The recreation referendum was the one we feel the toughest about,” Kreutner said, adding the language difference between the exit poll question — and the actual wording on the ballot — might have played a role.

Charleston mayor’s race runner-up Leon Stavrinakis will address the Charleston County Republican Party meeting on Monday night. The GOP has also invited first-place finisher John Tecklenburg to attend the party’s monthly meeting but he opted out, citing a previous commitment. He’ll send a campaign surrogate, Party Chairman Larry Kobrovsky said.

So far there are no scheduled debates between the two finalists for the Nov. 17 runoff. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at North Charleston City Hall.

Republicans will also gather Tuesday night at the Cinebarre theater in Mount Pleasant for a GOP presidential debate watch party. A CNN news crew is expected to attend as well. The gathering begins at 8:30 p.m. The Milwaukee debate is hosted by the Fox Business Network.

Inez Tenenbaum, former S.C. Superintendent of Education, U.S. Senate candidate and one-time head of the federal Consumer Products Safety Commission for the Obama administration, has opened a solo law practice in Columbia.

“This allows me to bring my own particular experiences in shaping and navigating state and national public policy to bear upon the challenges facing my clients,” she said in a media release.

Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz was in Charleston last week with his wife, Robin, and dropped by City Hall to visit Mayor Joe Riley.

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“He’s my hero,” Diaz told a reporter, as he left Riley’s office.

Diaz was mayor of Miami from 2001-2009. Unlike Charleston, mayors in Miami are limited to two four-year terms.

Before Diaz was elected mayor, his first public office, he was known for being the lawyer who represented the U.S. relatives of Elian Gonzalez.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday will be at Brookland Baptist Church, 1066 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia, beginning at noon. Later that night, beginning at 6 p.m., he will take part in U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s Town Hall Meeting at the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, 130 Shipyard Drive.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will attend his South Carolina headquarters grand opening, 790 Huger St., Columbia, beginning at 5:30 p.m. On Thursday he will address the annual S.C. Chamber of Commerce meeting at 10 a.m., The Westin, 2 Grasslawn Ave., Hilton Head Island.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson will take part in U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s Town Hall at noon on Friday at Bob Jones University, 1700 Wade Hampton Boulevard, Greenville.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be in Greenville on Saturday for the South Carolina Rally for Religious Liberty. The event will be held at Bob Jones University, 1700 Wade Hampton Blvd. Doors open at 10:30 a.m., and the event will take place from noon to 2:00 p.m.

Compiled by Robert Behre, David Slade and Schuyler Kropf.