Scott to speak on talk show

Graham

Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott makes what is being billed as his first Sunday show interview since being sworn in on NBC's "Meet the Press" this morning with host David Gregory.

The questioning is expected to follow the line of thought that after President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, do Republicans see ways they can work with the White House?

Also, what does Scott, as the first black Republican senator in more than 30 years, think his party needs to do to attract new voters?

The show airs at 10 a.m. on WCBD-TV, Channel 2.

Raffling off an AR-15 rifle seems to be the popular way to go if you're a Republican running for the U.S. Senate in the South.

Just days after South Carolina GOP candidate Lee Bright announced he was giving away a version of the gun, Georgia GOP congressman Paul Broun said he was doing the same thing for his Senate campaign.

Bright announced last month he would give a gun to one lucky person whose name is randomly drawn from a list of submitters through his website solicitation on Feb. 15.

There is no cost to enter the draw but you have to be 18 and pass a background check as required by law.

Bright, a state senator from Spartanburg, had no qualms about the thrust of his raffle as he is one of four Republicans taking on incumbent GOP U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the primary.

"I know the political talking heads may sneer as they continue blaming guns and law-abiding gun owners for the acts of thugs and madmen," he said in his solicitation.

"But I am the pro-gun, pro-Constitution candidate in this race for the U.S. Senate - and I can't think of a better way to get that word out than by giving away a brand new AR-15."

Gun restriction advocates have focused on the weapon as being similar to the one used in the 2012 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, according to published reports.

South Carolina gained a seventh congressional seat following the 2010 Census, and while the next census is still six years away, some experts say it's not too soon to predict which states will gain and lose next time.

Their best guess, based on recent population estimates, is that South Carolina will keep its seven congressional seats but not gain another one.

Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics crunched the numbers and projects that Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia all will lose one seat, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Virginia would add one. Texas would gain two.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, an online political prognostication site, notes that from a presidential standpoint, these changes would nudge the Electoral College in favor of the GOP candidate.

Thank God for Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, the District of Columbia and Alabama. Politico Magazine recently took its own subjective stab at ranking the best and worst states in the nation.

Its calculations were based on 14 sets of data from the Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI as well as high school graduation rates, per capita income, and life expectancy and crime rates. South Carolina ended up with a ranking of 45th, just ahead of the states above. New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont, Utah and Massachusetts ranked at the top.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford earned a reputation as a notorious penny-pincher during his first round in Congress, most famously sleeping in his office to save money.

That frugality - as the tea party has pushed Republicans to be even more fiscally conservative - helped Sanford last year as he campaigned for the 1st District seat he previously held from 1994-2000.

This week, he showed he's not changing his ways, announcing that he's returned $231,140.30, or 28.8 percent of his 2013 House office budget.

"I have long believed that those in government need to spend taxpayer dollars as they would spend their own, `both carefully and deliberately," he said. "Too often in government there is a distance between what a bureaucrat might spend money on and what a taxpayer would. Our office approaches this fundamental question from the side of the taxpayer and I believe our end-of-year surplus reflects that."