The Republican Primary is on June 8 and there are many candidates on the ballot. Many of you have asked for my recommendations on the various candidates. I am flattered that you think I have so much political knowledge. The truth is I don’t. However, I am fortunate to have several friends and advisers who pay close attention to the political arena. The following list has been informed by their input but in the end they are my thoughts and I accept full responsibility for them. These friends are also contributors to the www.aikenjournal.org and the www.Octogenarianonline.com.
GOVERNOR- Nikki Haley is a relative new comer to politics with less than 6 years in the Statehouse. She is definitely not just another “good old boy”. She has proven herself to be a fiscal conservative and a champion for transparency in government.
LT. GOVERNOR- There are two good candidates. Ken Ard and Bill Connor. Ken was first elected to the Florence County Council in 2004. He is a fiscal conservative and supports transparency in government and term limits. Bill Connor is a retired Army officer who has served in Afghanistan. Based on their platforms either one would work well with Nikki Haley. Both support Nikki’s view that the Governor and Lt. Governor should run as a team.
STATE TREASURER- Curtis Loftis is strongly recommended. This is the second most important position to be filled in this election cycle. Deedee Vaughters has written about the Budget and Control Board that seriously impinges on the power of the Governor to manage the States finances. In an op-ed column last December Deedee said the following:
The show is our state and the agency running it is The Budget and Control Board with the help of the South Carolina Legislature. The Budget and Control Board is a government agency created in 1950 and unique to the state of South Carolina. The website for the Budget and Control Board states that its single mission is "to make government better for the people of South Carolina." Why then with only one mission does this board fall so short of its goal and in fact have quite the opposite effect?
The Budget and Control Board currently controls one-fifth of the General Fund budget and consists of six different divisions. One division is a general services branch that has the responsibility of facilities management for state-owned buildings. The Budget and Control board currently charges state agencies rent or property management services for debt free properties at a very expensive rate. That rate is $11.29 per square foot. Some agencies feel that this is a very inflated rate. As an example, The State Museum determined that it could provide its own property management for $8.88 per square foot. They could then put $250,000 away in a capital reserve fund and save the taxpayers $682,973.
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With the exception of the short period of time that Thomas Ravenal served on the 5 person board the General Assembly had three votes it could rely on to completely control the budget. The current incumbent Converse Chellis was appointed by the good old boys in the Statehouse to replace Ravenal and he owes his loyalty and his job to them rather than the Governor and citizens of South Carolina. He must be replaced.
COMPTROLLER GENERAL- The incumbent Richard Eckstrom is
doing a good job as a fiscal conservative and has been proactive in making SC finances transparent by placing them on line. He has also been a supporter of the Governor and when Curt Loftis is elected the Governor would again have 3 votes.
superintendent OF EDUCATION- There are five candidates and all are qualified. I chose Kelly Payne because of her teaching experience and organizational skills. She is also a strong advocate for school choice and vouchers.
SECRETARY OF STATE- The incumbent Mark Hammond is running unopposed.
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE-The incumbent Hugh Weathers is
ATTORNEY GENERAL- Alan Wilson is a strong conservative and I support him.
U.S. SENATE- Jim DeMint is up for reelection and he has made a real impression on our country as a strong conservative. We need him up there for another 6 year term.
U.S. Congress Third District- This race has 6 candidates. The clear choice as a proven fiscal conservative in the SC House is Jeff Duncan.
Rex Rice has also served in the house but in our opinion he lacks the same conservative credentials.
U.S. CONGRESS SECOND DISTRICT-Joe Wilson is a strong conservative and has done a fine job for his constituents for many years. As a term limits guy I would have a problem in voting for him but I am not in his district. There is a strong conservative challenger by name of Phil Black and he deserves your consideration.
P.S. To remind- If you are 65 or over, or if you are going to be away either election day (May 25 for the School Bond Referendum and June 8 for the primaries) you can vote early at the County Registration and Elections Commission, 916 Vaucluse Road Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 Pm. These elections are very important-Please vote!!!!