By Paul Gable
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.
While Allen is ranting to a social media audience, Richardson and Arthur have been traveling throughout the 7th Congressional District giving speeches to various gatherings of citizens who can actually go to the polls and vote in the June 2022 Republican primary.
And some of Allen’s rants will get him into more trouble with 7th Congressional District voters than they will help him.
Attempting to explain his carpetbagger status in a video clip, Allen says, “(people say) that I was born and raised in Mississippi so I’m not really a South Carolinian. Well, I’m sorry I couldn’t control what vagina I came out of and where that vagina was located when I came out of it. What a stupid, pompous thing.”
Watch the video clip here: (copy and paste into browser)
In South Carolina, mothers are put on a pedestal not referred to as vaginas. Among 7th Congressional District voters, that reference will not gain any votes.
A second rant video clip has Allen saying, “Christianity and religion I absolutely hate and the reason why is because those are man run systems and organizations. If you want to know where you can find the most self-centered, judgmental people in the world, they go to this place called church.”
Deep in the Bible Belt with a population who goes to church on Sunday far in excess of the national average, that is particularly stupid quote to have out there if you are trying to get those same citizens to vote for you.
There are some rumors that Allen expects an endorsement from former President Donald Trump to help gain him votes in the primary. However, Trump specifically said at a recent rally that he would not endorse any carpetbagger who moved into an area just to run for political office.
While Allen had a good fundraising quarter, his negatives still outweigh his positives as a serious candidate for nomination.
There are five other potential candidates who are registered with the Federal Election Commission for the 7th Congressional District Republican Primary. No doubt, one or two more will emerge as contenders before the upcoming primary.