Republicans in South Carolina’s First Congressional District will once again head to the polls a week from today to determine their nominee.
Mark Sanford, who represented the district from 1995 to 2001 and served as governor from 2003 to 2011, is well-known and has a solid record when it comes to fighting government spending. His opponent, however, has been running a platform, but he’s not doing much to sway voters on substance.
Curtis Bostic, who will face Sanford in the runoff, hasn’t offered much in the way of details on spending. He devotes a page to the issue on his website with handy charts from the Heritage Foundation, but doesn’t say what he would cut nor does he mention anything about entitlement reform. In fact, half of the page is about taxes.
Bostic has signed Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is important. However, spending is just as much of an issue — one that deserves more than just rhetoric. And despite all his talk about cutting the budget, Bostic was one of two candidates in the primary who didn’t sign the Coalition to Reduce Spending’s Reject the Debt pledge.
This isn’t a tough pledge. It simply states:
I, [candidate name], pledge to the citizens of my state and to the American people that, except when related to a congressional authorization of force, I will:
ONE, consider all spending open for reduction and vote only for budgets that present a path to balance; and
TWO, vote against any appropriations bill that increases total spending and against the authorization or funding of new programs without offsetting cuts in other programs.
But of the two remaining candidates in the race, Bostic is the only one who hasn’t signed this pledge. The Coalition to Reduce Spending put out this statement on their Facebook page yesterday:
We’re puzzled as to why Curtis Bostic is still refusing to sign the Coalition’s Reject the Debt pledge. For a man who claims that putting a stop to spending is his main priority, he’s been extremely hesitant to truly go on the record so his potential future constituents can hold him accountable.
His runoff opponent Mark Sanford has signed the pledge, and so did nearly all of his primary opponents. What’s keeping Mr. Bostic from going on the record? Vague campaign trail promises that don’t include any specific spending cut proposals aren’t sufficient in the face of a national debt that’s nearly $17 trillion and continues to grow exponentially. Why is Mr. Bostic being evasive about this issue?
Perhaps he’s being evasive on spending because his record doesn’t match his rhetoric. FITSNews, a South Carolina-based blog, noted earlier this month that Bostic voted for every budget during his tenure on the Charleston County Council. During the time Bostic served on the council, FITSNews notes that spending grew much faster than population growth:
From 2001-2008, total spending on Charleston County government ballooned from $241 million to $365 million – a 25 percent increase after adjusting for inflation. During that time Charleston County’s population grew by just 12.2 percent – from 310,000 to 348,000.
With the exception of 2001, when he was recorded as absent, Bostic voted for every single county budget.
Actions speak louder than words. Tough talk is one thing, but Bostic’s record on spending just doesn’t match his rhetoric.