Sunday, March 28, 2010

The GOP Lt. Governor's race

As stated before the striking thing about the GOP race for Lt. Governor is the lack of heavyweight contenders. Typically, there is as at least one legislative or otherwise political heavyweight in the field for the office. In 1986, the Republican nominee was Congressman Tommy Hartnett. In 1990, the Republican nominee was former U.S. Attorney Henry McMaster. Hartnett lost to long time state senator Nick Theodore. Lt. Governor Theodore defeated McMaster in 1990.

In 1994, Bob Peeler, Chairman of the State Board of Education, defeated former Congressional candidate Henry Jordan and longtime Republican House member Howell Clyburn for the GOP nomination. Peeler then went on to defeat former Congresswoman Liz Patterson in the general election. Four years later, Lt. Governor Peeler would defeat former Lt. Governor Theodore.

In 2002, state senator Andre Bauer defeated state senator David Thomas for the GOP nomination, and won the Lt. Governor’s office by defeating state senator Phil Leventis. The 2002 election was the last year of known political heavyweights getting into the Lt. Governor’s race.

The 2006 election ended nearly 100 years of political heavyweights challenging for the Lt. Governor’s office. Lt. Governor Bauer defeated two restaurant owners on his way to re-election. The first was Mike Campbell, a political novice whose greatest asset was being the son of former Governor Carroll Campbell. The second was the Democratic nominee, Robert Barber. The election was known more for Lt. Governor Bauer surviving an airplane crash and Barber losing his lowcountry restaurant to fire than any great political debate.

Perhaps the 2006 election set up the situation in 2010. In the GOP field, there is Florence County Councilman Ken Ard, retired Army Lt. Colonel Bill Connor and longtime former Judge Larry Richter. All three men have accomplished lives, but they do not have the historic resumes candidates for Lt. Governor have had for the past century or so.

However, those three are the GOP field. As such, here is how VUI sees the field as of late March. Ard has the advantage, for now. Ard has worked the grassroots hard that are necessary to win a down ballot race. Connor, good man that he is, seems not to have gained any traction.

That leaves Larry Richter. Richter has an impressive resume, some personal money to pump in, and some personal baggage. However, the race seems to be now between Ard’s personal touch in grassroots campaigning against Richter’s money and lowcountry connections. Connor seems to be relegated to the role of spoiler.

That said, the Lt. Governor’s race is fluid. With voter and political activist interest so low and the candidates all relatively unknown, the field could shift. There is a lot of hard work left to be done for the campaign that claims the nomination in June. But, when forced to call it, VUI says it is between Ard and Richter, and it is going to be one helluva race.


  1. I'm curious where you got your information for your blog post.

    Every poll conducted (5) thus far shows Bill Connor leading, the last poll shows Ken Ard with just 3% of those decided.

    Both Ard and Richter have given up the grassroots to Connor and most "in the know" feel it's Connor's race.

  2. Patricia MedlinMarch 28, 2010

    I have been keeping up with all the candidates running for Governor as well as Lt Governor. I have been quite impressed with Ken Ard. He has a lot of legislative support behind him, and a pretty impressive leadership team, but that is not really what I care about. I like the fact that I can relate to him. He knows what its like to own a small business, and all of the pains that one has to endure with the taxes and liabilities. Larry Rictor has a questionable past, and I do not feel that I want to have someone in a high public office like that. I really believe that South Carolina will benefit with Ard as our Lieutenant Governor.

  3. Conservative, my guess is Mr. McCarty did not consider self promoting inner campaign polls.

    Define those "most in the know." Most people do not even know who Connor is at this point.

    Ard has been out there working the county parties. I do not think Connor could find his way to Greenwood with a chauffeur and a road map.

    Mr. McCarty is right about Richter. Richter is going to dump some big money in the race soon. Shealy is going to get paid!

  4. Connor for Lt. GovernorMarch 28, 2010

    If you want a coke head, vote for Richter. If you want a commie, vote for Ard. IF you want a military man with honor, vote for Connor.

  5. Will Connor make seniors in the Department of Aging wear uniforms? If so, he is my guy.

  6. I don't think most people know anyone running for the office at this point. It's as lackluster a race as I've seen it, but in all fairness, one big hurdle has been fundraising. You can't roll out the sign blitzes and tv ads until you can pay for them.

    The roadsides are amazingly clean and clear for this point in the primary election cycle.

  7. Retired SoldierMarch 28, 2010

    I too have closely followed the race for our next Lt. Governor. It is clear that Bill Connor leads in the most recent statewide poll and has the momentum from real Reagan conservative Republicans. He has worked every county and region and put nearly 100,000 miles on his campaign car. While in the active Army Reserves (10 years active duty Infantry) LTC Connor is not retired and drills every month! Savvy activists see him winning outright on June 8 without run-off. He stays personally in touch with supporters and has everything needed to be our next Lt. Gov.

  8. Soldier - what poll? Aside from straw polls, which bear little or no connection to primary voter sentiments, I've seen none taken in this race.

    If there have been some, then please share the sources with me (and everyone else reading this).

  9. Earl Capps, get real. Connor is the favorite. He will be the next Lt. Governor. If that old windbag McMaster wins, he will certainly die in office, and SC will be led by a real leader, Bill Connor.

  10. Henry, I would not drink anything given to you by Bill Connor.

  11. I thought you were dead already. I got a thousand dollars I will pay towards your funeral Brian McCarty, if you would just do us all a favor and go ahead and die. You will never be be Mayor, you worthless, drunk lawyer son of a bitch. Do us all a favor and just go ahead and die so we can not worry about what eve you have to say. You think you are so smart, but you are just a drunk asshole lawyer who we want to see die and die soon. Go ahead and die, you bastard. WE are sick of you. Die. Die. Die. Do not tell us what you think of whatever race, just go ahead an die. It would be the best way you can, as you put it at one town council meeting a few months ago, "serve the town." I hate your guts.

  12. Where to begin? I like reading this blog. I feel the pain of the "second in command" as I go through chemo treatments now.

    What can I say, Brian? I like your remarks about politics and life and I feel for your "staff" going through chemo.

    Those morons out there who do not get that are just too stupid to breathe. Chemo is no joke. It sucks. Nutcase for one can kiss my chemo ass. What an idiot.

    Thanks, Brian, for having this blog and for taking input from a cancer patient like I am. Do not let the idiots get you down. They have no idea what your "second in command" goes through.
    Screw those idiots.

  13. Yo, nutcase, this article was about the Lt. Governor's race. I doubt you registered to vote, so no wonder you write about some bullshit.

    Get a life nutcase, and learn to vote.

    Brian, I know you wanted to move back up in that hick place for family. But, man, come on back home to Columbia. You are too smart and so many of us think too much of you for you to waste your potential for people who hate the fact you have a brain.

    Nutcase shows you that HP is a curse. Let it go. Come home. Cold beer and real friends await you.

  14. Connor will win

  15. Well WillieMarch 29, 2010

    What does some has been/never was from some little redneck town like Honea Path know about such things. Sure, you worked for the cow man, but hey, like him, your time has past. Connor has the backing of the people who really matter. Connor will win and he will not even know the name of your redneck town.

  16. Good work, VUI. We will probably see your analysis in The State or another paper in the next few days. Chances are they will not give you credit, but you are damn good at calling things. You and your staff need to get paid for this.

  17. Ard is the best candidate. Connor is nuts, Richter has a Ravenel problem.

  18. Richter's chances are going up his know what I mean.

  19. Great post Brian!

    I've been hearing that a lot of folks do mention that there isn't a "heavy weight" in the race. I have heard though that there's a consensus building out there that the GOP needs a fresh face with business experience and with Ard's finance committee and other endorsements with grassroots and almost half of the house GOP caucus, that seems to be the case.

    Ken Ard might not have the years in Columbia under his belt, but he's been a committed public servant and raised some serious money over the years for Republicans. That and there's some serious buzz in Columbia about how successful Florence Co has been in cutting spending while still maintaining a surplus, jobs, etc.

    The GOP has been looking tirelessly for that new generation of fresh faces and they've found that in Ken Ard. Florida's got Rubio, Mass's got Scott Brown - bout time SC has had some new blood in there to mix things up with Ken Ard.

  20. Earl Capps,

    This might give you some indication of how in the dark you are regarding what really goes on.

    None of those polls mentioned in the comments above are straw polls.

    The latest from Glen Bolger showed your boy Ken Ard with just 3% of decided voters. Looks like both you and Brian here are out of touch. You like to act so important and present yourself as someone "In The Know", you shouldn't have any trouble at all getting all of the polling info from your "contacts"

    If my memory doesn't fail me, 4 of these polls were part of polling for the Governor's race and the other by a former Lt Gov candidate.

    Bill Connor led handily in ALL OF THEM.

    The people of South Carolina do not want a college dropout or a highly unethical character for the office of Lt Governor. And they surely don't want the liberal spending of that guy from Florence.

    And Katie, you're not fooling anyone. Grassroots is Connor's hands-down. Ard and Richter both know it and have already conceded that and focused now on undecideds to try and get in a run-off.

    There is only one, count him, ONE CONSERVATIVE candidate in this race. His name is Bill Connor.

  21. This is for Nutcase, you are a miserable soul. You need to repent
    to your God and pray for you soul.
    I forgive your ingnorance, please forgive yourself and move on to a better life.

    Eddy Mac

  22. I'mYour HuckleberryJune 09, 2010

    Really? Are you sure?