South Carolina state elections, 2006


South Carolina state elections, 2006

The 2006 South Carolina State Elections will take place on November 7, 2006, and will include the gubernatorial election. South Carolina is unique in having nine popularly elected constitutional officers, including the United States' only elected Adjutant General, all of whom will be up for reelection. The entire South Carolina House of Representatives, one state senator and six state circuit solicitors will also take part in the election. Several constitutional amendments are also on the ballot.

Filing for the major parties closed on March 28, 2006, and filing for minor parties closed on August 15. The primaries for both parties were held on June 13th, and run-offs were held June 27. All results are taken from the South Carolina Election Commission's official results. Percentages may not add up to 100 because of rounding.

Constitutional Officers

Governor

Before the general election campaign, major issues in the race were expected to likely be South Carolina's property tax, cigarette tax, and school vouchers. However, the race has had surprisingly low visibility, with the only major issue being the governor's combative relationship with the legislature. Job creation and public school investment have been minor issues in the campaign. Sanford leads in the polls against Tommy Moore by around 5-10 points, according to SurveyUSA and Rasmussen polls, despite being named one of the worst Governors in the country by Time Magazine [http://www.time.com/time/press_releases/article/0,8599,1129509,00.html] a year before the election and generally being seen as ineffective. State Senator Jake Knotts considered mounting an independent petition candidacy for governor, and collected enough signatures to theoretically qualify for the ballot, but decided not to run.

Republican Primary

*Mark Sanford (Incumbent) - former realtor and US Congressman
*Oscar Lovelace - physician

Lovelace's candidacy was largely quixotic, although it did garner some interest from disaffected Republicans and Democrats. The Prosperity doctor ran what might be called a centrist campaign, emphasizing working across party lines, healthcare reform, opposition to vouchers and job creation. Sanford largely ignored Lovelace's campaign, even refusing to attend an SCETV debate with his opponent. Although Lovelace made a stronger than expected showing in the primary, his loss was not surprising.


Republican Run-off

Campbell was seen to be in a strong position coming out of the primary, but Bauer ran an effective on-the-ground campaign, bringing out his trademark grass-roots support in large numbers. Far fewer of Campbell's supporters made it to the polls for the run-off, giving Bauer enough of an advantage to win the run-off.


Republican Run-off

After the primary results came in, the race descended into confusion. US Senator Jim DeMint and GOP state chairman Katon Dawson called for the losing candidates to withdraw, allowing Ravenel to win without a run-off. Ryberg withdrew from the race, and initially there was some speculation as to whether Quinn would take his place in the run-off. Ryberg's campaign manager angrily referred to Ravenel's entry as "screwing us over", and alluded to Ravenel's promises that he would quit the job in two years to run for the US Senate. He then referred to Dawson as "an idiot." Ravenel responded to questions about the fracas by stating he was "above all that", calling himself "gracious and classy", and noting that "That's not how I roll. That's not how Thomas Ravenel rolls." The State newspaper reported on the imbroglio [http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/14821302.htm] . Ultimately, Quinn also withdrew, leaving a defiant Willis to race Ravenel in a run-off, which Ravenel handily won.


Democrat

*Emile DeFelice - organic hog farmer, State Food Policy Council chairman

DeFelice has stressed a platform he calls "Put your state on your plate", which would promote South Carolina's agriculture industry by raising consumption of locally grown foods over food from other states or countries. He has also adopted an anti-subsidy platform that would limit direct subsidies to South Carolina farmers.

General Assembly

outh Carolina House of Representatives

All members of the South Carolina House are up for re-election, although many are not contested. Barring a major shift in the political climate, it can be safely assumed that the Republicans will retain their majority in the House. 18 Democratic primaries were held for statehouse seats: 22 Republican primaries were held. 1 Democratic and 2 Republican run-offs were required in these races.

Many Republican candidates up for reelection have been targeted by the aforementioned group Conservatives in Action. CIA has engaged in a mailing campaign meant to descredit Republicans seen as "Republicans in name only" or RINOs. Commentators have remarked that most of those Republicans attacked are opponents of a school voucher scheme, and thus suspect that CIA is somehow linked to SCRG.

tate Senate District 5 Special Election

In July 2006, state Senator Verne Smith announced his early retirement from the South Carolina Senate due to health problems. A special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the current term will be held the same day as the general election. Attorney Frank Eppes will face State Representative Lewis Vaughn. As no other Senate races will be held, the balance of the state Senate will not be affected.

*Special Republican Primary

Initially several Republicans filed to run for Smith's seat. Most prominent was Lewis Vaughn, 72, a state representative from Greenville. Vaughn had previously announced his retirement from the House, and therefore had not been engaged in a reelection campaign until that point. Bill McKown, who had lost in the Republican primary for Secretary of State to Mark Hammond, announced his candidacy but quickly withdrew in favor of Mike Meilinger, a Greer CPA. Also in the race were Kathleen Jennings Gresham, a disbarred attorney, and Tim Macko, a former New Mexico state legislator. Vaughn and Meilinger advanced to a run-off after the September 19 special primary.


olicitors

South Carolina is divided into 16 judicial circuits, with one solicitor elected every four years to serve as the state's chief prosecutor in each circuit. In 2006, there will be seven solicitor elections. In all but one, the incumbent is running unopposed. In the seventh race, a Democrat is running unopposed.

In the 6th Circuit (Chester, Lancaster and Fairfield counties), two Democrats faced off in a primary for an open solicitor's seat after the death of long-time incumbent John Justice. Doug Barfield beat Tyre Lee in a lopsided victory, therefore becoming the solicitor-elect.


Constitutional Amendments

Amendment 1

Amendment 1 would add Section 15 Article XVII of the state constitution, the wording of which would deny recognition of any domestic union other than a marriage between one man and one woman in South Carolina and all its political subdivisions. This abolishes common-law marriages and civil unions. The amendment is expected to easily pass, although state statute already defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Amendments 2A and 2B

These amendments modify Article III. 2A would amend Section 9 to allow the State Senate to, at any point, recess for up to 30 days with a simple majority vote, or recess for more than 30 days with a 2/3 majority vote. This would basically extend to the Senate the same powers of recess already possessed by the House. 2B would delete a legal prohibition from Section 21 that prevents either legislative body from adjourning for more than 3 days without the consent of the other.

Amendments 3A and 3B

3A would modify Article X, Section 16 to allow state retirement funds to be invested in equity securities. 3B would modify the same section, deleting language providing for a State Retirement Systems Investment Panel, an advisory body that oversees the investment of state retirement funds.

Amendment 4

This would amend Articles III and X of the constitution, allowing the General Assembly to cap changes in reassessment of property values for tax purposes at 15% over a five-year period. This amendment is part of a tax reform plan introduced by state Republicans during the summer of 2006, that centers upon cutting property taxes and replacing them with an increased sales tax. Essentially, this amendment would limit increases or decreases in millage to 15% of pre-assessment value.

Amendment 5

Amendment 5 would amend Article I, Sections 13 and 17, and Article XIV, Section 5, to limit the circumstances in which local governments can use eminent domain to seize private property. This amendment is part of a national movement by state and local governments to limit the powers of eminent domain following the famous 2005 Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court case, in which the Supreme Court backed the power of governments to seize land for the use of private development projects. The amendment would prevent governments in South Carolina from doing so, as well as eliminate constitutional clauses that give certain counties slum-clearing and redevelopment power.

Other elections

Elections will also be held for some of the elected members of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. County, school board and municipal elections will also be held across the state.

ee also

*South Carolina gubernatorial election, 2006


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