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Ten SC Club for Growth Candidates Win Seats in Legislature, Two More Now in Runoffs

June 11, 2008

Ten SC Club for Growth Candidates Win Seats in Legislature, Two More Now in Runoffs

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal mentionsan apparent anti-incumbent wave that swept several longtime lawmakers out of office Tuesday

SC Hotline reportsthe highest number of incumbents was defeated last night…in our current history

Popular blog site Fitsnews.com reportsseveral surprise outcomes that will undoubtedly shift the balance of power in the State Senate in the taxpayers favor

June 11, 2008

Dear SC Club for Growth Member,

It’s a great day to be a fiscal conservative in South Carolina.  Last night, SC Club for Growth endorsed candidates won ten elections and two more are now in runoffs.  Additionally, eight incumbents were defeated, compared to just one in the similar 2004 election cycle.

Earlier today, Governor Mark Sanford said, “Last night’s results were ultimately about one thing – real conservatives across South Carolina making their voices heard on the need for change in Columbia.”  His words speak volumes about your and SC Club for Growth’s efforts in the past few months.

Without your help, none of this would be possible.  We can’t thank you enough for your donations of time, money and energy to support reform-minded candidates.  We’re on the brink of some real changes in the state and I personally can’t wait until each of the newly-elected senators and representatives takes office.  I hope you will continue to support them in a variety of ways.

Further, I hope you’ll contribute to the Club-endorsed candidates who are facing runoffs.  Katrina Shealy and Lee Bright need help in spreading their messages and we have a great opportunity to assist! Donors can give up to $1000 in new contributions during the runoff period. In the interest of time, if you are willing to help them please reply to this email and I will facilitate your contribution.

With that, here’s a full list of our winning and runoff candidates (see analysis below):

SC House – Winning Candidates Endorsed by SC CFG

Tommy Stringer – Greenville County, House District 18

Bill Wylie – Greenville County, House District 21

Wendy Nanney – Greenville County, House District 22

Joey Millwood – Spartanburg County, House District 38

Deborah Long – Lancaster County, House District 45

Rep. Thad Viers – Horry County, House District 68

Tim Scott – Charleston County, House District 117

SC Senate – Winning Candidates Endorsed by SC CFG

Sen. Greg Ryberg – Aiken County, Senate District 24

Mike Rose – Dorchester County, Senate District 38

Tom Davis – Beaufort County, Senate District 46

SC Senate – Runoff Candidates Endorsed by SC CFG

Lee Bright – Spartanburg County, Senate District 12

Katrina Shealy – Lexington County, Senate District 23

Senate Analysis

In the Senate, a number of Republican challengers defeated incumbent senators who have consistently opposed Governor Sanford.  The governor’s former Chief of Staff, Tom Davis, defeated incumbent Catherine Ceips in the night’s biggest Senate win.  His victory was a real sign that voters are tired of politics as usual as the Senate Republican caucus spent over $100,000 to defend Ceips.

Club-backed candidate Mike Rose also defeated RINO Randy Scott in a great win for good government.  Others, like Sanford allies Phil Shoopman and Mick Mulvaney, won Republican nominations with no opposition.  As it currently stands, if Katrina Shealy and Lee Bright win their runoffs, a full ONE-THIRD of the Senate Republican caucus will have recently been replaced by reform-minded, fiscal conservatives.

We also have the chance to pick up three Senate seats in the general elections this fall.  We will have a real fiscal conservative reformer in at least one of those races and quite possibly all three.  As we lost several restructuring votes in the Senate last year by 2-4 votes, the outcome of these races will be critical in passing reforms next legislative session.

House Analysis

Nearly 18% of the House Republican caucus chose not to run for re-election this year causing House Speaker Bobby Harrell to recently say that “It could be a record year in terms of new members coming in….because so many members are not seeking re-election.”  (The State, 3/10/08).  Even after so many retirements, a significant number of Republican House incumbents were still defeated by reform-minded, fiscal conservatives.

The biggest House win of the night was Joey Millwood beating House Education Committee Chairman Bob Walker.  Reformers Wendy Club-endorsed candidates Wendy Nanney and Bill Wylie both routed their incumbent opponents.

Last night was also historic in that Tim Scott will now serve as the first African-American Republican since Reconstruction.  Tim campaigned on the principle of putting taxpayers first, and we agree with the commentator who said, “He’s a born leader, a conservative visionary and one of those incredibly rare examples of a guy in politics who truly is as pure as the driven snow.”

In a number of open seats, the winning candidate ran on a platform of supporting Governor Sanford’s agenda.  In addition to our endorsed, primary winning candidates, those reform-minded newcomers will include Mark Willis, Derham Cole Jr., Dan Hamilton, and Rita Allison (a former senior staffer for Governor Sanford).

The “Common Sense Caucus” in the House successfully rebelled against leadership a few times this past session and is poised to become much more of a force in the next session.  We lost a few very close battles recently (by only a couple votes) in an attempt to sustain the governor’s veto of the $18 million “legislative slush fund.”  Last night’s results should solidify this group as an almost controlling block (numbers-wise) in the House Republican caucus.  Additionally, adding that many solid members to the group should make Governor Sanford veto proof on many fiscal issues.

General Analysis

This election was about more than just changing the failed status-quo in Columbia.  It was about a new generation of leaders who believe South Carolina can be the envy of our nation.  Above all, the big winners last night were Governor Mark Sanford and South Carolina taxpayers who are eager to see their state government reformed.

The South Carolina Club for Growth, which supports strong fiscal conservatives who run for the state legislature, is proud to have played a significant role this year’s primary elections. SC Club for Growth members not only donated time but a significant amount of money to endorsed candidates.  We also sent direct mailings that highlighted the abysmal fiscal records of some opposed candidates.

Your help in this election cycle is unparalleled in our history, and for that I thank you. Again, would encourage you to support those candidates in runoffs by emailing me or Chad (chad@stickyfingers.com) or by calling me at 803-454-1134. The time to act is now as they need cash on hand this week to purchase air time for next week when voters will be making their final decisions.  Our run-off challengers need all the help we can give them to defeat their anti-reform opponents and clear the way for a historic legislative session next year.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to give me a call.  Thanks again for all of your support. Take care!

Sincerely,

Matt Moore

Executive Director

SC Club for Growth

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