Ivanka Trump: Dad disrupting 2016 race in ‘positive way’ (copy)

An Ivanka Trump handbag is being used as a political email building reward by a South Carolina congressional candidate this year. File

Trying to get your hands on an Ivanka Trump purse? Can’t find it at Nordstrom?

Sign over your email address to Tommy Pope’s congressional campaign and you could be the lucky winner of a $175 Gramercy Crossbody handbag.

Pope, one of several Republicans seeking the vacant Upstate 5th Congressional District seat, said he’s not sure how long he’ll let the raffle go before pulling a name.

“Since the liberal media and national retailers are trying all they can to hurt Ivanka Trump’s business, we’ve decided to give away one of her pursues to show our support,” reads Pope’s campaign website. “You can’t get it at Nordstrom, but you can get it here!”

“This was an idea my friend came up with and said, ‘You know what would be neat?’” said Pope, R-York. “You can’t get them in Nordstrom anymore so I had (wife) Kim order one and we did it, kind of, for a fun thing.”

This isn’t the first time South Carolina candidates have come up with creative ways to raise money, or pad their email lists.

In 2014, U.S. Senate candidate Lee Bright of Spartanburg raffled off an AR-15 rifle to those signing up with their name, phone number and email.

Haley article found in Hillary emails

The internet site WikiLeaks is known for publishing a bevy of government documents, including copies of the more than 30,000 emails sent to-and-from Hillary Clinton's private email server from when she was secretary of state.

Some of the correspondence mentions U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and his concerns regarding the war on terror.

Another South Carolinian mentioned in the mix is former Gov. Nikki Haley.

A Clinton aide thought Haley was enough of a rising star that she forwarded a USA Today article on Haley as part of Clinton's daily contacts.

The note, which was forwarded in 2012 without comment from top aide Cheryl Mills, listed the article "Don't say 'no' to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley."

Five years later, Haley, who is known to have national aspirations, is U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The final PDFs for all the documents on the WikiLeaks site were made available this month.

The Haley article was on an email string marked "unclassified." 

Sanford: I warned you on pensions

Near the end of his tenure as governor, current U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford warned South Carolinians their state pension system would run into serious trouble if dramatic actions weren’t taken to rein in investments.

Today, the South Carolina congressman with six years of distance from the Governor’s Mansion isn't quite saying “I told you so” as the Palmetto State grapples with a $24.1 billion shortfall. But he is arguing the crisis might have been averted had his advice at the time been heeded.

“If we had acted on it 10 years ago, we could be in a very different place now,” the 1st District Republican said of his rejected calls to lower the assumed rate of return to a more conservative threshold.

This past week, Sanford cautioned there are lessons to be learned from South Carolina’s current pension woes when it comes to tackling some of the biggest fiscal issues on Capitol Hill, from continuing to add to the federal deficit to rethinking how the government pays for health care.

“It’s a microcosm of every debate that we have in Washington,” he said of the state pension crisis as it applies to other ballooning costs in government.

Bowling for health care deal

Mick Mulvaney is inviting some of his old friends to the White House grounds next Tuesday, a reunion of sorts since the former Republican congressman from South Carolina left Capitol Hill just a few weeks ago to become the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The event, however, won’t just be for fun.

Mulvaney is working to sell conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus — which he was a founding member — on the health care bill Republican leaders and the Trump administration want Congress to pass.

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What better way for Mulvaney to make his pitch than over pizza at the two-lane bowling alley in the basement of the Eisenhower Office Building?

“Shoes are included,” Mulvaney told Palmetto Politics.

Rumor has it President Donald Trump might also stop by for what House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina called less a bowling party, more a “pizza and policy discussion.”

S.C. GOP "completely worthless"

Anti-tax Republicans, including lawmakers fighting the proposed gas tax increase for state road improvements, could soon get a messaging boost from from a new political group.

John Cattano, who previously worked as treasurer for the S.C. Republican Party, established a new political organization with the Internal Revenue Service early last month.

The group, which goes under the name SC Red, is registered as a 527, a type of nonprofit that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money on political messaging as long as it isn't coordinating with any candidates.

Cattano and several other people who want to remain anonymous started the organization. They are miffed at a segment of Republicans "holding hands" with Democrats by supporting legislation they don't believe meshes with conservative values.

“Our opinion right now in the Legislature is there isn’t a lot of difference between the Republicans and Democrats," he said.

SC Red's new website highlights the group's anti-tax platform, including a photo of several pigs feeding at a trough. The web page also praises state Treasurer Curtis Loftis, and criticizes the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, which Cattano said "has never found a tax they didn’t like.”

Cattano said SC Red has already started collecting contributions and plans to start making political media buys soon.

“The South Carolina Republican Party is completely worthless,” he said.

Maya T. Prabhu, Schuyler Kropf, Emma Dumain and Andy Brown contributed.

Reach Schuyler Kropf on politics at 843-937-5551. Follow on Twitter at @skropf47.