2 vying to unseat Scott in 1st District


Republican Congressman Tim Scott is seeking a second term but first must get past challengers from the left and the right, from Democrat Bobbie Rose and Libertarian Keith Blandford.

The 1st District has undergone a significant change since Scott won two years ago.

It remains Charleston-centric, with parts of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, but it no longer extends north to Georgetown and Horry counties.

Instead, the newly drawn district includes part of Colleton County and a large chunk of Beaufort County. About 30 percent of its voters were in other congressional districts in 2010.

Scott said he is most proud of seeing the House pass a bill that would inhibit the National Labor Relation Board’s ability to shift jobs from one state to another, a bill that ultimately did not become law but helped shape the larger debate about how the board was dealing with Boeing and its new North Charleston plant.

“Being thrust into that fight was unexpected,” he said, “but the results were very worthwhile.”

Scott said his biggest frustration was answering his supporters who wanted to see more change in Washington, even though Democrats still held the Senate and White House.

“Having one third of government only stops bad things from happening,” he said. “It can’t reverse the bad things that already have happened.”

Scott said he is proud that Congress has slowed spending, but there is still more work to do. And he said creating jobs is his top issue.

Rose has never run for political office before, and she was frustrated that Scott had an easy race in November 2010.

“The Democratic candidate basically didn’t campaign. I’m not sure he was even a Democrat,” she said of perennial 1st District candidate Ben Frasier, who did not file this time.

Rose has never sought office before, and she faulted Scott for not doing enough to help Folly Beach with its renourishment and for supporting Congressman and GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s budget, which she said would cut funding for veterans.

Scott said no congressman can get an earmark for a project such as beach renourishment, and that veterans funding has increased under the House budget. Scott also said Ryan’s budget has been praised by the director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Rose also has criticized Scott for signing the no-tax-increase pledge from the Americans For Tax Reform, a pledge signed by all Republicans in this state’s congressional delegation.

“I want to represent my constituents. I want to represent the women in the district who I feel are not being represented,” Rose said. “I want to represent the veterans. I think that’s very important.”

She said she also would be more supportive of organized labor; her father was a union man his entire career, from jobs in North Charleston and Georgetown to the Savannah River Site.

“Unions keep corporations honest and keep them treating their employees well,” she said. “The more organized labor drops in this country, the more living wages drop.”

Blandford, a construction executive, ran as a Libertarian two years ago and got only about 1 percent of the vote.

He said he is running again to maintain the “Ron Paul discussion,” a reference to the former GOP presidential hopeful and Texas congressman well known for his Libertarian views.

“What we have is two parties of big government — big government Republicans and big government Democrats,” he said.

The Navy veteran said he is equally at home at tea party rallies and occupy movement rallies. “I believe savagely in the right to govern my own affairs,” he said.

Blandford said his two main issues are to fight against the nation’s current monetary policy, where the federal reserve is printing money and devaluing the dollar to pay the nation’s bills. He said he also wants to stop intervening militarily in other nations, such as Iran.

The League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area will hold a forum with the candidates Oct. 24 at North Charleston City Hall.