South Carolina

Which Candidates are Rising After South Carolina Debate?

Everyone has their opinion of the new ladscape after last night’s GOP debate in Charleston. Is Trump still dominant? Did he and Ted Cruz break up? How much will the “New York values” moment hurt the Texas Senator? Will Marco’s new found passion ignite a fire for him in the hearts of voters? Did he expose Cruz as a master flip-flopper and cynical politician? Is Jeb actually the adult on the stage pulling the puppet strings (I’ll be honest: that last one seems plausible to me)? Just why in the world weren’t Fiorina and Paul — despite being low in the polls, which is the metric for qualification — on that main stage (although Paul’s boycott of the undercard debate led to a boost in attention for him on social media, a situation better for him as an also-ran as anything else would be)?

Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist has a quick roundup that covers the bases beyond the usual “Yeah, but who won?!” claptrap. She seems to have drawn a similar conclusion to just about every other wise pundit who keeps a weather eye on these things: the field has narrowed to 3 — Trump, Cruz, Rubio. (Although her piece has some other interesting points and is worth the read in full).

I’ll add only three things…

Colbert Busch Beholden to Labor Unions, Leftist Democrats

Throughout her campaign Elizabeth Colbert Busch has fashioned herself as a candidate devoid of any ties to a party or agenda. Despite her opponent, former governor Mark Sanford, insisting she holds an allegiance to the left, Mrs. Colbert Busch has remained steadfast in her approach. In a race replete with negative ads and the typical disdain for corruption, partisanship and business as usual, what has not been discussed is what actually defines an independent.

The appeal to the politically-homeless and disenfranchised is commonplace and to be expected; particularly in the current political climate where even head lice is more popular than Congress. Needless to say, appearing to be a rebuke against the establishment is more crucial now than ever. The primary goal of the Colbert Busch campaign has been to capitalize on this bourgeoning cynicism.

To her credit, Mrs. Colbert Busch drove this point home early in Tuesday’s debate saying, “I will take that tough, independent business woman—independent business career and I’ll go to Washington with the help of all of you.”

Sanford would question this statement early and question it often. Citing on several occasions the amount of funding Mrs. Colbert Busch had received from the Democratic left, he stressed his concern that such financial support would not come without expectations. To this she replied, “No one tells me what to do except the people of South Carolina’s 1st District.”

Mark Sanford Wins GOP Run-Off, Faces Colbert Busch In May

Mark Sanford

Around 8:30 pm eastern time last night, MSNBC declared former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford as the winner of the GOP primary run-off in the state’s 1st District over former city council member Curtis Bostic.

Sanford will now face Democratic nominee and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the general election on May 7th. Early polling has indicated a close race between the two with perhaps a slight edge going to Colbert Busch.

It’s too early to be sure however if her apparent support is merely the result of celebrity by proxy or her message is truly resonating with voters in the 1st District.

Though running as a Democrat it’s obvious she’s aware of the electorate in the area. The 1st district hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since before 1980 and Colbert Busch appears to be reaching out to conservative voters in hopes of changing this trend. On her campaign website she pledges to help small businesses create jobs by lowering taxes and cutting waste—unusual rhetoric for most Democrats but necessary in a Repulblican stronghold like South Carolina if she has any hope of winning.

When it comes to satisfying fiscally conservative voters, few have done it as consistently as Mark Sanford. As National Review’s Deroy Murdock noted recently,

2014 Senate Races and the Term Limits Issue

 

We’re barely through with the 2012 elections, but the 2014 Senate races are heating up quite nicely. This is fun, right? You can see a map here of the 2014 and which way each state leans. I’m keeping a close eye on two of those races specifically: Georgia and South Carolina.

Georgia interests me because it’s my home state but also because it’s the reelection campaign of the man whose liberal idiocy prompted my entrance into political activism. Saxby Chambliss is certain to face a primary opponent, and I’m certain to support that opponent. The only question to be answered is who will decide to run against him. I wrote about this race and Chambliss’ potential opponents recently.

South Carolina also has my eye for two reasons. First, I grew up there, and the vast majority of my family lives there. Second, it’s an opportunity for the state to rid themselves of the biggest imbecile in the Senate. Lindsey Graham is also nearly certain to find a primary opponent, and that opponent is also likely to win my favor (especially if that opponent is Tom Davis).

The problem with these races – and really a lot of the races in the coming Senate election – is that the incumbent has had (at least) six years to build up campaign funds and become part of a system designed to keep him elected. Lindsey Graham has a war chest of over $4 million. That’s enough money to scare off a lot of quality candidates that would give him a run for his job.

Has Mick Mulvaney Picked a Fight with Lindsey Graham?

During the campaign season before the 2010 elections, my dad (the administrator of a small private school) called me to say that a man running for Congress stopped in the office to talk with him for a few minutes. That man was Mick Mulvaney, who, as Dad noted, would be a substantial upgrade over long-time incumbent John Spratt.

I’ve kept an eye on Mulvaney the last couple of years since he joined Congress as part of the wave of new Republicans in the House. While I haven’t always agreed with Mulvaney, I have seen him take some stands I admired. He usually flies under the radar without stirring up too much controversy within the party.

The days of Mulvaney flying under the radar may be over soon, as he has been working to do what few Republicans dare to do: curb increases in defense spending.

Mulvaney was recently interviewed by The American Conservative about defense spending, specifically about his efforts with Barney Frank to freeze defense spending. Their amendment to the 2013 defense appropriations bill to freeze defense spending at 2012 levels passed the House and awaits action by the Senate.

When Rand Paul spoke at the Republican convention in August, he referred to the “sacred cows” that each party was going to have to kill in order to gain any ground on balancing the federal budget. The GOP’s sacred cow, without a doubt, is defense spending.

Mulvaney’s attempt to freeze spending isn’t exactly what we need, but it’s a good start to convince the warmongers within the party that we can, in fact, defend our country without exponentially inflating defense spending every year.

Gingrich picks up steam in Florida

Coming off a big victory in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich is riding the momentum into Florida. A week ago, polls out of the Sunshine State indicated that Mitt Romney was the runaway favorite, leading by as much as 26 points in mid-month. That has dramatically changed as the “inevitability” of Romney winning the nomination has come into doubt.

The latest two polls out of Florida show Gingrich up, but to give you an idea of the swings in this race, below are the numbers out of the state from Rasmussen, including the poll released yesterday. See if you can follow along as we view the fickle nature of the conservative movement.

Poll Romney Gingrich Santorum Paul Perry
1/22 32% 41% 11% 8%
1/11 41% 19% 15% 9% 2%
11/8 24% 19% 1% 3% 4%

Rasmussen didn’t poll during the big jump in Gingrich’s number in December, but CNN, SurveyUSA, and NBC News polls all showed him eclipsing 40%. But you can see it in the Rasmussen numbers, Gingrich has seen a 22 point swing in 11 days. And Romney has seen his 22 point advantage turn into a 9 point deficit.

South Carolina Primary Live-Blog

Welcome to United Liberty’s coverage of the South Carolina primary. We were anticipating an interesting day between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, but polls have showed movement in recent days. It looks like Gingrich will win the state this evening by a decent margin, despite some bad press in the last 72 hours.

You can track results from the Palmetto State here.

Summing up the GOP race to this point

As we approach the South Carolina Primary, one thing has become painfully clear: Mitt Romney is running away with this nomination. Even if he somehow loses South Carolina, it appears he has Florida in the bag, and his debate answer on Monday about Social Security should have closed that door. With this reality upon us, I feel it appropriate to analyze who and what happened to get to this point.

Michele Bachmann

Quick Take: She changed the way people look at white dresses forever.

Post-Mortem: I’ve stated before that Bachmann held a purpose in Congress, that purpose was to call out big spending. Granted, she has not been known for putting bills through that actually make a difference. More to the point, she was consistently getting airtime pointing out needless spending. Her campaign had this consistent message and was especially focused on Obamacare. It was a series of over dramatized answers and a Gardasil gaffe that ultimately sunk her campaign. The combination simply did not appear presidential.

Gary Johnson

Quick Take: Huh, turns out leading with “legalize pot” in the GOP doesn’t work after all.

Post-Mortem: A candidate that I have felt brought the most common sense approach to the issues facing the nation along with a record as Governor of New Mexico that proves his commitment to his stances. Shortly before the Iowa primary, Johnson went LP, a better fit for him in my opinion.

Ultimately, his delivery was ineffective in convincing the GOP base that his ideas were the direction the GOP needed to go. His ideas are already supported within the Libertarian Party which should allow him to concentrate more on the issues and less with convincing social conservatives that liberty is essential.

What to expect tonight in New Hampshire?

Tonight is a big night for Mitt Romney; and even if he “wins” New Hampshire, he may very well “lose.” There is little doubt that he is coming off a victory by winning in Iowa, though by a very small margin, even though he didn’t spend a lot of money. He lost the state four years ago, despite spending millions.

As you can guess, Romney has an advantage in the Granite State since he served for four years as Governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Needless to say, he is expected to perform well there. However, Romney has a threshold he needs to cross, even though he’ll win, for it not to be considered a disappointment.

Polls have showed that Romney has fallen off some in recent days. Last week, for example, Suffolk University’s daily tracking poll showed Romney hitting 44%. But by the weekend, he’d dripped to 33%. Though he maintains a double-digit lead over his closest rivals in the state, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. Today’s Suffolk poll shows Romney at 37%.

Romney needs to receive 40% or more of the vote in order him to walk away from New Hampshire with confidence. If he falls below that mark, expect to hear his rivals and conservative talking about how his nomination isn’t inevitably. And they’re right to a certain extent, this election cycle has taught us that nothing is a certainty.

Also, Huntsman’s future in the race may be determined this evening. If he finishes third or furthers down, he may well exit by the morning. A second place finish would likely keep him in the race until at least Florida.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

With Mitt Romney expected to win tomorrow’s primary in New Hampshire, we’re back to taking a look at the race from a national perspective this week. As far as things go, many Republicans are resigning themselves to Romney winning the nomination as Rick Santorum, who finished a very close second in Iowa, doesn’t have the money to build a strong team in upcoming primary states.

What’s more, the latest polling from Rasmussen out of South Carolina shows Romney with a lead over Santorum and Gingrich, the latter dropping to third in that state. Ron Paul is fourth in the poll.

We’ve included the current delegate totals, per CNN’s projections, for each candidate below. We’ll update them next week after the New Hampshire primary. The number of delegates required to win the Republican nomination is 1,144.

Upcoming Primaries

  • 1/10: New Hampshire
  • 1/24: South Carolina
  • 1/31: Florida
  • 2/4: Nevada and Maine (caucus will last 2/4-11)
  • 2/7: Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri
  • 2/28: Arizona and Michigan

The Rankings

Mitt Romney (): As mentioned above, Romney will win New Hampshire tomorrow, very likely by a double-digit margin. A first or strong second place finish in South Carolina are signs of the inevitable; especially since, as Saturday evening showed, none of his opponents seem willing to really go after him. Super Tuesday is still important depending on who sticks around after South Carolina. Delegates Won: 18


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