Interesting dynamics are beginning to emerge in the race for next year’s Republican nomination in S. C. 7th Congressional District.
Second quarter campaign finance data shows incumbent Tom Rice leading in money raising with Graham Allen, Ken Richardson and Barbara Arthur rounding out the top four in that order.
Drilling down on those campaign donations, most of Rice’s contributions come from PAC donations routinely given to sitting Congressmen. While Allen shows $501,244 raised, an analysis could find only three donations totaling $1,000 from people living within the 7th Congressional District.
By contrast, Richardson’s $179,797 is virtually all from 7th Congressional District residents as is Arthur’s $52,666.
Richardson already has experience as a candidate having won a county wide race for the School Board chairmanship in Horry County which contains approximately 50% of the voters in the 7th Congressional District. Arthur has no previous political experience.
Rice is the incumbent but he hurt his reelection chances significantly by voting to impeach President Donald Trump in a January 2021 House vote.
Money is sometimes called ‘the mother’s milk of politics.’ However, if the amount of money raised and spent was the sole determinant in winning an election, Jaime Harrison would be a U. S. Senator today instead of Lindsey Graham.
Allen is the most interesting story as he is attempting to win the race as a carpetbagger. The term carpetbagger is defined as “a political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections.”
While Allen may know a few people in the district, he has no real connections to the area and most voters I have talked to don’t know much about him.
Allen has gained some notoriety as a regular host on Glenn Beck’s Blaze television and his ‘Rant Nation’ podcasts. Having recently moved to Anderson, SC, Allen meets the federal requirements to run for the 7th Congressional District seat.
Allen appears to be a member of a small group of candidates who seem to think their military service and a little notoriety on social media defines them as super-patriots while voicing positions for Second Amendment gun rights and against a ‘swamp’ full of perceived ‘Communists and Marxists’ in Washington are keys to winning Republican nominations for federal office.
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(Ed. Note: This is a guest editorial by a long time Conservative Libertarian-Republican)
On July 13th, 2021 the Horry County Republican Party approved a resolution to censure Drew McKissick, the Chairman of the SCGOP, for interfering in the reorganization process of the Greenville Republican Party.
This action may be somewhat confusing to anyone who has not played close attention to South Carolina politics or even national Republican Party politics during the past decade.
In case you have not noticed, there is a civil war going on within the Republican Party between those who want to see a Republican Party that is an actual opposition party to the Democrats and those who like the status quo, we’ll call them the “Establishment”.
Just a quick pedantic moment from “the Hoff”. We all know what the Democrat Party stands for these days. That party has been taken over by the progressive movement, some call them the socialists, and others call them Marxists. Basically, the party stands for big government collectivism with massive controls over your individual and economic lives. For many of us conservatives, this means the death of our constitutional republic which was based on limited government, individualism, and a respect for our unalienable rights (given to us by our creator, not government). We conservatives (who the press label as “extremists”) value individual and economic freedom. In today’s political environment, the U.S. really only has two parties that can influence national and international policy; the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. Therein lies the rub.
Since we know what the Democrat Party stands for, what does the Republican Party stand for? To be a true opposition party to the Democrat Party, the Republican Party would have to stand for limited government, respect for our unalienable rights, and be a strong defender of less government interference in the marketplace. The Republican Party unfortunately has been anything but the opposition party. In our own beautiful Palmetto State the Republican Party has significantly increased the size and scope of the state government, increased taxes at every opportunity, infringed on most of our unalienable rights (due process, right to keep and bear arms, etc, etc,) and has increased the regulatory environment where the middle class small business owner today finds it hard to compete with big business (crony capitalism).
Thus, the civil war within the Republican Party between the Establishment and the Reformers. The reformers want to give voters a real choice at the polls, not just a choice between socialism and socialism-lite.
Horry County Council gave unanimous approval to third reading of an ordinance establishing impact fees on new construction but only after voting to reduce the fees by 81.5% before final passage.
To those who haven’t followed the issue closely, the reduction to only a nominal fee that will be charged may seem an action in the best traditions of a conservative council.
BUT IT’S NOT!
In fact, it is a huge victory for special interests to the detriment of average taxpayers in the county.
What eight members of council really voted for was to cave-in to the wishes of the development lobby while ignoring the wishes of the taxpayers.
The development lobby was successful in defeating attempts to impose impact fees at least twice in the last 15 years. After county voters supported instituting impact fees to help pay the cost of new development by a 72% vote in 2018, it was obvious some type of bone had to be thrown to voters this time around.
The question is not whether the explosive development the county is currently experiencing is going to increase the need for new or improved roads, new stormwater infrastructure, new fire stations, new parks and so on. Rather the question is who is going to pay for these improvements of basic needs.
Eight members of council, Johnny Vaught, Dennis DiSabato, Danny Hardee, Mark Causey, Orton Bellamy, Bill Howard, Cam Crawford and Gary Loftus voted to extend those costs to every taxpayer in the county rather than limit the charge to those causing the increase – namely owners of new construction whether private homes or commercial.
Council Chairman Johnny Gardner, and members Harold Worley and Tyler Servant voted against the amendments gutting impact fees and for the wishes of the voters as expressed in the referendum.
New single-family homes will be the class of construction that will generate the greatest proportion of the new fees. The first two readings of the impact fee ordinance passed with a fee amount of $6,645 per single-family home with other types of construction, multi-family, retail, hotel for example, having maximum fees imposed in accordance with state law.
Tuesday night the eight council members named above amended the ordinance to remove impact fees for road and stormwater infrastructure from the ordinance thereby reducing the fee for single-family homes from $6,645 per home to $1,236 per home.
But the costs for new and improved road and stormwater infrastructure to serve the new developments throughout the county won’t go away just because council removed those portions of the fee from the ordinance.
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Tuesday night Horry County Council will vote on third reading of an ordinance to impose impact fees on new construction in the unincorporated areas of the county.
Two and one-half years ago, nearly 75% of the voters said yes to an advisory referendum question asking whether county council should establish impact fees in the county.
Despite passing the first two readings unanimously, third reading passage of the ordinance is not assured.
On the table at third reading of the ordinance is imposition of an impact fee of approximately $6,600 for new single-family homes and varying impact fees for other types of new construction depending on the type.
Numerous sources have told me over the past two weeks the pressure on council members from the development lobby to water down the bill or kill it completely has been intense.
That lobby, composed of large landowners, builders and their associated sub-contractors and the real estate sales industry is pushing the message that impact fees will cause a significant slowdown in construction costing jobs and seriously impacting the local economy as well as making it more difficult in recruiting new businesses to the area.
The real reason for the opposition to impact fees is the builders do not want to pay $6.600 more out of their pockets each time they receive a new building permit. Developers will recover that money when the house is sold because the cost of impact fees will be passed on to the new homeowner, but they don’t want to float that sum for the few months between start of construction and sale in today’s market.
The impact fee will add approximately 2.5% to the cost of the average new home in Horry County. Prices on new homes have risen considerably more than that in the past year simply through market forces of supply and demand and sales of new homes have not slowed down because of the increasing price.
Impact fees in Horry County are not a new concept. Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority has been collecting impact fees for a number of years. The statement in the county’s Imagine 2040 master plan explaining those fees is simple, “GSWSA collects water and wastewater capacity fees (impact fees) from new customers so that the current customer base does not bear the burden of new growth for both water and wastewater improvements.”
The development lobby used its same arguments when GSWSA imposed impact fees. Those arguments were totally false then and remain totally false now. One only has to drive around the county and view all the new construction projects in various stages of completion to see how false the argument is. GSWSA impact fees have not impacted new construction one iota.
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Recently I published an article in which I said state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch would challenge 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson in the June 2022 Republican Primary.
Goldfinch called me after publication to say he had not made a decision to run for solicitor. He said he was considering several political offices and didn’t know when he would make a decision about which one to contest. Goldfinch did admit to paying a portion of the cost of a recent telephone poll in which questions about Tom Rice and Richardson were predominant.
Among the offices Goldfinch said he was considering were solicitor, S. C. 7th Congressional District currently held by Tom Rice, Lieutenant Governor or he may decide to stay with his state senate seat. The first three options will all be contested in the June 2022 primaries. He will not have to run again for nomination for senator until June 2024.
Goldfinch also stated I was wrong in saying he had plead guilty in 2013 to a federal misdemeanor for misbranded drugs in violation of Title 21, United States Code Section 331(a). He told me all the charges in the case were dropped.
I requested records from the U.S. District Court in Houston. Goldfinch is correct, the charges were ultimately dropped, but only because of an apparent administrative failure.
According to records from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division, Goldfinch “aided and abetted by others known and unknown to the United States Attorney, caused the introduction and delivery for introduction into interstate commerce stem cells that were misbranded in that the stem cells and packaging did not contain directions for use.”
According to the charging document, the stem cells referred to were used to treat patients with severe diseases such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in violation of federal law.
According to the court documents, an order for an issuance of summons for Goldfinch to appear in Houston, Texas at 10 A.M. December 10, 2013 for the charge was signed on November 27, 2013 by a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
According to a report by the Associated Press, dated November 28, 2013, Goldfinch told the reporter he had been cooperating with the federal investigation. Goldfinch told the Georgetown Times he would have no choice but to plead guilty to the charge. On December 4, 2013, theNerve.org published an article in which Goldfinch was quoted as saying, “I’ve fully cooperated with federal authorities and I told them I fully intend to plead guilty.”
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