Tag: Luke Rankin

Deceptive Messaging from the Rankin Campaign

The Rankin campaign mailers have raised questions about the accuracy of the message being promoted for Rankin’s reelection.
One side of last week’s mailer showed Rankin in a picture with Chief Mark Keel of SLED, Chief Amy Prock of Myrtle Beach and Chief Dale Long of Conway. The title was “Luke Rankin is Standing with Law Enforcement to Keep South Carolina Safe.”
Rankin is certainly standing with three police chiefs in the picture. However, any implication which may be drawn from the picture that the chiefs support the Rankin campaign are false. Emails were sent to all three chiefs asking whether they had approved the use of their picture on a Rankin campaign mailer and whether they endorsed Rankin for reelection.
Chief Keel and Chief Prock responded. Both said they had not given approval for their picture to be used on the campaign mailer. Both also said they don’t endorse candidates. The picture was taken at a South Carolina Police Chiefs Association Meeting at the South Carolina State House last month. Chief Long did not respond.

Rankin Mailer Filled with Political Speak

Every election season, voters are inundated with mailers, television and radio ads and pronouncements on social media about the qualities of candidates and the alleged successes of incumbents.
South Carolina law only requires two things on these various campaign missives to be truthful – who paid for the ad, mailer, etc. and the mailing address of the paying person or entity. The remainder can be filled with “political speak” which does not have to bear any resemblance to the facts.
This week voters in SC Senate District 33 received a mailer from incumbent Sen. Luke Rankin extolling how Rankin had “delivered” for the citizens of his district. But, in its search for “deliveries”, the Rankin piece went down “roads” traveled by many other people.
Under the heading of “Infrastructure Enhancements”, the mailer claims Rankin “led the charge to fund $1.8 billion in Horry Co. road improvements, with $4 billion more to come in the next 5 years – paid overwhelmingly by our 14 million annual tourists.”
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Grand Strand Humane Society Cleared for Construction of Waterside Drive Animal Shelter

The Grand Strand Humane Society is cleared to begin construction of its animal shelter and associated businesses, according to a briefing of the Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee yesterday.
According to the details of that briefing, the property on Waterside Drive to which the Humane Society was given a 40-year gratis lease by owner Santee Cooper, the property was zoned LI (Limited Industrial) in 1987 and one of the approved uses since that time is animal services.
According to the briefing, the text amendment to the LI zoning classification, which was approved by county council in December 2023, had nothing to do with the Humane Society’s use of the property.
Despite the legal clearance, the residents of the Waterside Drive community are unhappy about the potential impacts the animal shelter and associated businesses will have on their neighborhood.
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Rankin Only Republican Senator to Vote Against Constitutional Carry Bill

Since switching parties in 2004, conservative constituents of Senator Luke Rankin have questioned whether he is a RINO (Republican in Name Only). The answer may have finally come with a vote Rankin cast in the SC Senate last week.
Rankin is completing his eighth consecutive term as a Senator, representing District 33. In 1992, 1996 and 2000, Rankin was elected as a Democrat. By the 2004 election, Democrats basically could not get elected in Horry County any longer, so Rankin switched parties and has run as a Republican for his last five terms.
Last week, the SC Senate passed a constitutional carry bill, which will allow law-abiding citizens to carry loaded guns without any training or a permit. The vote was 28-15 to pass the bill with 28 of the 29 Republican senators in attendance voting to approve the bill. Rankin, the lone Republican senator to vote against the bill, joined the 14 Democrat senators in attendance to vote NO.
Immediately after the bill passed, the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus issued a press release applauding the bill’s passage. The release began, “Once again, Senate Republicans delivered on their promises and passed H.3594, the South Carolina Constitutional Carry Act.” The release also stated, “The People asked and Republicans listened.”

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SC House Ad Hoc Committee Begins Hearings on Judicial Reform

The new House Ad Hoc Committee to Examine the Judicial Selection and Retention Process in South Carolina began hearings earlier this month.
The committee was formed because of the increasing calls from citizens, prosecutors and law enforcement personnel from around the state that judicial reform should be a priority in the coming legislative year.
South Carolina is one of two states (Virginia is the other), where judges are elected by the legislature. The Judicial Merit Selection Commission was a key component of the inquiry by the ad hoc committee at its second hearing of the month.
SC Attorney General Wilson was asked by a member of the committee if he thought it was possible that undue influence was put on judges by lawyer/legislators who are members of the JMSC or the larger General Assembly as a whole. Wilson answered, “Yes.”
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Autry Benton’s Challenge for Senate District 33

Just over a week ago, Autry Benton announced his withdrawal from a reelection effort for Conway City Council in order to run for the state Senate seat currently held by Luke Rankin.
The announcement surprised the public, but the reason for it was even more surprising. Benton is seeking office to actually try to make a difference and help the citizens rather than the self-seeking reasons most politicians bring to their campaigns.
Benton’s announcement said he heard from Conway citizens that they were generally happy with the condition of the city. The major complaint he heard while campaigning were “about infrastructure in general and roads in particular. Benton said the solution to road problems lies in Columbia with General Assembly appropriations.
“It’s time for the necessary improvements to Horry County infrastructure to stop being ignored in Columbia. It’s time for Horry County to get a consistently strong voice for its fair share of state budget funds for roads and infrastructure,” Benton said in his announcement.
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SC General Assembly Committees Attempt End Run Around Affected Electrical Cooperatives

Sub-committees of the SC House Labor Commerce and Industry Committee and the SC Senate Judiciary Committee published notice Monday that hearings would be held this week for the companion bills to amend the rules by which electrical cooperatives may contract for power.
It is extremely unusual for sub-committee hearings to be announced on Monday and held on Wednesday and Thursday of the same week of announcement.
It is not surprising in this case, however, as officials and directors of the state’s electric cooperatives are currently in Nashville, Tennessee for the annual conference of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association,. The Senate sub-committee hearing for the bill sponsored by Horry County Sen. Luke Rankin is scheduled for Wednesday March 8, 2023 with House sub-committee hearing for the companion bill sponsored by Horry County Rep. Heather Crawford scheduled for Thursday March 9, 2023. The national conference is scheduled to run through March 8, 2023.
The general consensus among electric cooperative officials and their customers is the purpose of these bills is to force the co-ops to purchase their power from state owned Santee Cooper regardless of price. The bills require the co-ops to submit any proposed contracts for the purchase of power for approval from the Joint Bond Review Committee, the Public Utilities Review Committee and the Public Service Commission.

Bills Sponsored by Rankin and Crawford Expected to Increase Electricity Bills

Companion bills filed by Rep. Heather Crawford and Sen. Luke Rankin, in the two houses of the SC General Assembly, appear to have a goal of requiring electrical cooperatives to purchase electricity from Santee Cooper regardless of the cost.
The bills, introduced by Rankin in the Senate on February 9, 2023 and by Crawford in the House on February 28, 2023, read as follows: “A BILL TO AMEND THE SOUTH CAROLINA CODE OF LAWS BY AMENDING SECTION 58-37-40, RELATING TO INTEGRATED RESOURCE PLANS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CENTRAL ELECTRIC POWER COOPERATIVE MUST SUBMIT ALL PROPOSED CONTRACTS OR OTHER PLANS FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF ELECTRIC GENERATION TO THE JOINT BOND REVIEW COMMITTEE, THE STATE REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES REVIEW COMMITTEE, AND THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA PRIOR TO EXECUTION.”
Central Electric Power Cooperative provides wholesale electric service to South Carolinas electric cooperatives such as Horry Electric Cooperative and Pee Dee Electric Cooperative. It obtains most of its power through long term purchase agreements with Santee Cooper, Duke Energy Carolinas, and the Southeastern Power Administration.

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Dark Money in Horry County Politics

An increase of dark money from several opaque political action committees (PACs) over the last couple of election cycles has introduced a new dimension to politics in Horry County.
Dark money is defined as funds raised for the purpose of influencing elections by nonprofit organizations, generally called Super PACs, that are not required to disclose the identities of their donors. The use of dark money allows donors to far exceed normal campaign contribution limits while remaining anonymous.
The 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission gave rise to what are called “Super PACs”. Since that decision, these Super PACs are considered political entities which can raise and spend unlimited sums to influence elections, so long as they don’t explicitly coordinate with a candidate.
However, those lines have become increasingly blurred in recent years. It appears what has emerged in South Carolina are what could be termed ‘PACs for hire’ ready to jump into campaigns when called upon.
Of interest locally are three PACs who advocated in two local elections with negative messages about a specific candidate in each race. The candidates targeted were opposed by candidates who, I would submit, were the favored candidates of the local Cabal.

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Lazarus’ Last Desperate Gasp for a Win

During the last several months the Mark Lazarus campaign has tried everything to change the history of his previous term as county chairman and to present a false image of Lazarus as a successful leader, which of course he was not.
That is unless you count getting the entire county work force mad at you; spending county revenue on a project that should be paid for by the state and federal governments if it is to be built at all and allowing unrestricted development to outpace the local infrastructure in roads, stormwater mitigation and public services as successful accomplishments.
As a last-ditch effort to pull out victory, the Lazarus campaign resorted to a tactic that was successful for Luke Rankin two years ago. It found a PAC to spend dark money for a hit piece on Gardner.
However, instead of the outrageous false and defamatory accusations made about Rankin’s opponent John Gallman two years ago, the one against Gardner is barely a whimper.
It was much less of a thing than the attempt Lazarus, Chris Eldridge and Arrigo Carotti tried to pull to keep Gardner from taking office as chairman four years ago only speaks to how clean Gardner has been.
Four years ago, it was a completely false memo about fictional allegations all, apparently, the figment of Carotti’s imagination. The supposed source Carotti said gave him the initial information for his five-page memo called the memo “mostly fiction” after the Carotti’s attempt at being an author went public and a SLED investigation found no credibility in anything Carotti wrote.

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