It’s been one year since Congressman Tom Rice’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
That fateful January 13, 2021 vote marked the beginning of Rice’s rapid fall from grace with the Republican voters of the SC 7th Congressional District, who constitute a considerable majority of the total voters in the district.
The SC 7th Congressional District is one of the most pro-Trump Congressional districts in the nation. From a political standpoint, Rice could have done nothing worse than his betrayal of the president to the constituents he represents.
Shortly after Rice’s fatal vote, Rice’s political consultant, Walter Whetsell, the go to guy for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, told news media that a week is like a lifetime in politics and the voters would forget about the impeachment vote in a couple of weeks.
Whetsell’s statement only goes to prove how out of touch Whetsell is with the realities of current day Republicanism in the 7th Congressional District.
Rice has chosen to run for reelection telling media representatives that the Republican Party must move on from Trump and that he (Rice) will run on his record of accomplishment for the nearly 10 years he has represented the 7th Congressional District.
But, Rice has no record of accomplishment in Washington. He went to Washington with two big goals – secure funding for Interstate 73 and bring “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” to the district. Despite working with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives for his first six years there, Rice was unable to secure any significant funding for I-73.
While Rice likes to point to the Dillon inland port as an example of his ability to create jobs, that project actually owes its existence considerably more to former state Sen. Hugh Leatherman than anything Rice produced.
I-73 will probably be at the core of Rice’s reelection effort. It was the Chamber and the cabal of would be ‘movers and shakers’ associated with it that first got Rice elected to Congress and has been as the center of his reelection efforts since. The thought was that Rice and lobbying efforts in Washington would secure funding for the road’s construction.
Whetsell is firmly attached to the I-73 project as the “poll(?)” he conducted last year on the project for the Chamber demonstrates. And Whetsell represents Chamber candidates such as Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune, state Reps. Case Brittain and Tim McGinnis and will represent Mark Lazarus’ attempt to win back the county chairman position he lost in 2018, all with the idea that local tax dollars must be dedicated to I-73.
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