SC GOP begins to extend its reach

AP
Republican South Carolina Gov.-Elect Nikki Haley greets the crowd Tuesday after her victory
Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 4:07 PM
Last updated 4:34 PM

COLUMBIA --  In the wake of historic election gains by Republicans and the party’s new control of the U.S. House, political types offer a ready and assorted supply of explanations. What’s indisputable is the penetrating depth of the new Republican control.

The Republican Party is positioned to have a powerful, long-lasting effect on congressional redistricting, with a legislative research group announcing the largest number of GOP seats in state legislatures since the Great Depression.

And in South Carolina, a red state has turned maraschino cherry.

Republican challenges ousted three Democratic incumbents, including  Rep. Anne Hutto of Charleston, who was defeated by Peter McCoy, Rep. Vida Miller of Pawleys Island, who was bested by Kevin Ryan and Herb Kersh of Clover, who was toppled by Tommy Pope. Republicans now hold 75 seats out of 124 in the S.C. House.

The House GOP Caucus’ push for stronger domination identified five focus areas: passing the "Voter ID" bill, expanding transparency, enacting spending caps, fighting illegal immigration, and enacting new lawsuit abuse reforms.

“South Carolina elected the most conservative, reform-minded, Republican ticket in history,” said S.C. Republican Party Chairman Karen Floyd, in a statement.

“Never before has the Republican Party held nine Constitutional offices, five House seats, both Senate seats, and such a large majority in the General Assembly.

Democrats in South Carolina and beyond point to a failure to define their achievements since taking the reins of a post-Bush economic landscape. They complain that their image and message were hijacked by those who smeared them as a party of “death panels,” and un-American in thought and culture. A common lament, too, is that this year Democrats struggled to get young and minorities excited about the midterm election.

Rep. Joe Wilson, a Republican who was re-elected to the 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday, explained the rejection of Democratic candidates differently.

“Jobs is the issue, but then citizens are very concerned,” he said.

“What they see is an implosion of their world. In their world, where people do have jobs, families have jobs, they have a feeling of hopefulness.”

He said the Democrats’ spending and health care legislation made him and others worry about the security of younger generations.

Nationwide, Republicans now occupy 53 percent of the total state legislative seats in America and at least 54 of the 99 state legislative chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

“2010 will go down as a defining political election that will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” said Tim Storey, NCSL elections specialist.

“The GOP, in dramatic fashion, finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and state legislative line drawing that it has enjoyed in the modern era of redistricting.”

Reach Sarita Chourey at sarita.chourey@morris.com or (803) 727-4257

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