Tag: impeachment vote

Rice’s Vote to Impeach Trump Continues to be an Issue with Voters

Rep. Tom Rice’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump remains at the forefront of many voters’ minds.

The issue surfaced again in Surfside Beach this week when a Tom Rice campaign sign was seen hanging from a tree with the word “traitor” written across it.

The sign caused discussions of the issue up to the city council level about whether it was legal for the sign to be in the yard. However, that is not the real issue.

Homeowners certainly have the right to express their feelings about political officeholders in their own yards.

Rice’s vote upset many of the Republicans in his district who have loyally voted for Rice in the past.

This reporter has personally seen several Rice campaign signs with a black “X” painted over them at different locations throughout the county.

The issue is Rice’s vote to impeach is still in the forefront of voters’ minds.

Walter Whetsell, the veteran political consultant who has run Rice’s congressional campaigns said, back in January, that thoughts of Rice’s vote would soon go away. Whetsell misread this issue because it is not going away.

Whenever Rice posts something to his Facebook page, the comments are approximately 80 percent negative towards him. When the commenters are analyzed, it appears that approximately half of the 20 percent who support Rice are Democrats.

Rice said several times that he voted his conscience back in January when he cast a vote to impeach Trump. He properly commented on the Surfside Beach sign that this is a free country and people have a right to express their opinion.

But, those opinions are hard against Rice now and it’s going to be very difficult for him to turn a majority of Republican primary voters around in the next year. It will be interesting to see the reception he receives, if he decides to run for his Congressional seat again, when he meets with voters in live campaign events.

It is also interesting that the same yard where the Rice sign was hung from a tree had a Russell Fry sign for the S. C. House.

Fry has been mentioned as a possible opponent to Rice in next year’s Republican primary for the nomination for the S.C. 7th Congressional District.

According to local media, Fry had no comment about the sign issue. To date, Fry has voiced no support for Trump on the impeachment issue nor support for Rice’s vote.

If he wants to be considered a serious candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress, Fry is going to have to get off the fence and take one side or the other of the impeachment issue. What he has done in the S. C. House of Representatives is not going to matter to voters.

Richardson Gaining National Attention as Potential Challenger to Rice

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson hit the national news spotlight recently when the New York Times ran an article mentioning Richardson as a potential challenger to Rice in the upcoming June 2022 Republican Primary for Rice’s SC 7th Congressional District seat.

Richardson said he was surprised at getting a call from the New York Times reporter. “When my phone rang and it was the New York Times on the other end wanting to talk about me challenging Rice for Congress I was very surprised,” said Richardson.

Richardson said his entire focus right now is on getting Horry County students safely back into the classroom five days a week.

Toward that goal, the school district is in the final stages of surrounding each student desk with Plexiglas shields. Richardson said meetings are ongoing with administrators, cafeteria staff and maintenance staff on what additional steps will be required to provide a safe learning environment when the district shifts to full-time, in-school classes.

“My number one priority right now is getting the kids back in school full-time,” Richardson said.

However, making a future run at Rice’s seat is not out of the question for Richardson.

“When the 7th district was first created in 2012, I considered running for the seat then,” Richardson said. “But, I was involved in negotiations to sell my car dealership (Fowler Motors) at the time and I didn’t feel I could give the attention necessary to run a Congressional race at the same time.”

Richardson said he ran for the position of school board chairman because there were things he wanted to accomplish for the students of Horry County, but the thought of running for Congress has never completely left his mind.

In June 2019, Richardson released a statement that Rice needed to do more to help local schools impacted by hurricanes.

Tom Rice Voted His Retirement Wednesday

By voting to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday, South Carolina 7th Congressional District Representative Tom Rice effectively announced his retirement from Congress.

Representing one of the most solidly pro-Trump districts in the nation, Rice’s vote drew nearly 3,000 Facebook comments in a matter of a few hours after his vote. The overwhelming majority of those comments were telling Rice he would never get their vote again and he should immediately retire.

There has always been a debate about whether a Congressman’s vote should represent the wishes of his constituents or that by electing him, his constituents effectively give him permission to vote as he determines proper.

Most congressmen do some of both, but occasionally an issue arises that most congressmen understand that they must vote the wishes of their constituents or suffer the consequences. The question of whether or not to impeach the president was just such an issue in the 7th Congressional District and Rice either didn’t understand the mood of his constituents or just didn’t care.

It’s interesting to note that local officeholders who rush to get Rice’s endorsement at election time and always show up for a photo op with him when he is in town, Luke Rankin, Heather Ammons Crawford, Cam Crawford, Russel Fry and newly elected Case Brittain quickly come to mind, have offered no defense of Rice on this issue.

They understand discretion is the better part of valor on this issue and defending Rice’s vote would only serve to put their future election prospects in peril.

While the overwhelming number of Republican voters in Horry County, who also happen to be the overwhelming number of voters in the county, condemned Rice’s vote, he did garner thanks from the county Democrats.

A press release by the Horry County Democratic Party said in part, “Jan. 13, 2021 — The Horry County Democratic Party today thanked Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC-7) for joining nine other Republicans and every Democrat in the House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump.”