As suspected, much of the early focus on 2010 statewide races focuses on the “top of the ticket” (both parties). In a state with one of the country’s weakest executive offices and a #2 spot that (until the past few weeks) was merely thought of as the person who “runs” the Senate, why not focus on some of the other races?
Oh – that’s right. As of today, there aren’t any other races…yet.
In case you aren’t familiar with all (or any) of the “other”constitutional offices ,here’s the list after Governor and Lt. Governor: Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Comptroller General, Superintendent of Education, Commissioner of Agriculture, Adjutant General. I have no idea of the “order” of “ranking” of those positions; I simply listed them as they appeared on SC.GOV’s website.
Of course, I’d have to think Superintendent of Education has got to be up near the top, shouldn’t it?
After all, shouldn’t our state be focused on educating tomorrow’s leaders and workforce?
I find it hard to believe that the Republicans could take a pass and not even field a candidate against incumbent Dr. Rex. But at this point, no challenger seems interested or focused on what we could do to improve education for all South Carolina’s children. Before I was demoted by House Leadership earlier this year , I regularly told colleagues that I didn’t feel education should have an R or a D behind it; but, in a heavily Republican leaning state, someone will run for the post, won’t they? I keep hearing folks are working behind the scenes to get Representative Ted Pitts (R-Lexington) to consider switching gears and running for the post instead of the state’s #2 spot. This seems to make sense for several reasons. One, Ted’s actually spent time in the classroom. Two, until House Leadership stepped in to recruit and anoint a Chairman, Ted was in the running to be that Chairman (House Education Committee) last session. Three, he’s been front and center on several educational issues – including being the lead sponsor of Rex’s school-choice bill .
Oh..and also the fact that currently there is no one strong enough to carry the Republican banner for this position.
There has been talk that freshman Representative Tim Scott (R-Charleston) was considering Education but his resume might not be best suited for that position which many believe requires some seasoning in office. He appears to also have his eyes on the #2 spot . With what appears to be a four-man field already for SC2 ( Bill Connor and Ken Ard have already announced), it wouldn’t surprise me to see one of these current candidates start to give serious consideration to what several in the state see as a more significant role for our state than Lt. Governor. (There’s even still speculation that former candidate Mike Campbell and former State Representative Ralph Norman might announce for SC 2. So that could be six in that race and none in Education for the Republicans)
What about the other “down ticket” races?
Secretary of State? Treasurer? While there are always folks out there badmouthing the current office holders, it seems – at least for now – that there may be no challengers for the incumbents. At least in a primary. I just don’t see the Democrats passing on some of these down ticket races in hopes of possibly driving up votes needed for the top of the ticket.
It’s surprising that no wants the Treasurer role. (Heck, I even briefly considered it when the future of then-Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was unknown). Something many in our state don’t know is that the Treasurer holds one of the five seats on the Budget and Control Board. Looking back on recent history, this position has been a very important swing vote on a Board that is very significant to the way our state operates. With the Governor and Comptroller General usually voting together, and with Senator Leatherman and Representative Dan Cooper usually voting together; the Treasurer has been the “swing vote”. Under Thomas Ravenel, it was 3-2 for the former (usually). Now, it’s 2-3 for the latter (almost always).
Attorney General? Assuming the inevitable announcement of current AG Henry McMaster running for Governor, it looks like Alan Wilson (son of US Congressman Joe Wilson) is ready to make a run. Last night, on twitter, I saw someone provide this link to a website ready to go live at anytime. With current statewide candidates Representatives Nikki Haley , Ted Pitts and Congressman Wilson all on the ballot next year, adding another Lexington candidate will surely mean voter turnout will be huge in Lexington – one of the largest Republican voting blocks in our state.
Comptroller General? In my opinion, Richard Eckstrom has done an outstanding job opening up the books on government spending at several levels. I’ve heard of no challenger to him and would be surprised to see one in a primary.
Commission of Agriculture? Adjutant General? Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t heard of any problems with the way each office is run. The only question I hear is whether General Spears will retire or whether he’ll seek another term.
Remember, it’s still early (primaries aren’t til June 2010) and you’ll probably hear folks test the waters or change their minds a couple of times over the next several months.