Congressman Gresham Barrett's race for Governor is off track. Barrett's supporters and staff will argue otherwise, but the facts are there.
Six months ago, the big political story was about how much money Gresham Barrett had to spend on his race for Governor. Now, the political story of the day is that Barrett is suing a group his lawyers claim is illegally supporting Nikki Haley. Six months ago, Haley was not a factor in the Governor's race. Now, she seems to be Barrett's chief rival, while Attorney General McMaster seems assured of a spot in the runoff.
The current situation can not be what the Barrett campaign wanted at this point. Afterall, Barrett stated in his stump speeches and even mentioned in his ads how litigation reform is needed. Barrett argued lawsuits are an impediment to economic development.
Fair or unfair, it is going to be hard for Barrett to champion that idea now that his campaign sued Reform SC for an ad the group ran that the Barrett campaign contends illegally supports Nikki Haley.
The merits of the case are real. There are legitimate points of law to be argued in the case. However, when Judge J. Mark Hayes, II ordered the ads to be taken down, it gave no political favor to Barrett.
It adds to what VUI calls the flip flop problem of Barrett's. He voted against the bank bailout and then voted for it. Barrett goes after lawyers for litigating, but his campaign is quick to sue. The suit has its legal merits, but politically it is not very smart, unless the Barrett campaign thinks they are out of the race already.
Perhaps what we are seeing here is a politician who knows he is not going to win the Governor's race, but he has enough left to wound the Sanford crowd and the out of state folks who have come to dominate Republican Party politics over the past few years. That is the only thing that makes political sense in this situation. No politician or consultant worth a hill of beans can actually believe that suing people turns on Republican primary voters.
Mr. Barrett's day in court was a short term legal victory for his campaign. But, it was a political victory for Nikki Haley and those who support her. They got Barrett off track and mired into a rivalry with her when instead Barrett should be duking it out with McMaster. Barrett also gave Haley ammunition about how desperate "good ole boys" will get.
We will all know in the next few weeks how all of this plays out. But, as it looks now, VUI thinks politically Mr. Barrett should have delayed his day in court.