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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