Originally created 10/30/00

S.C. legislative races 103000 - The Augusta Chronicle



Four South Carolina lawmakers in our region have opposition on the Nov. 7 ballot - and only one of them is interesting or serious.

Republican Robert Gossett is trying to unseat longtime Democrat incumbent Tommy Moore in Senate District 24 (Edgefield, Aiken and McCormick counties).

This is a conservative district and Gossett is trying to paint Moore as some kind of Clintonesque liberal.

True, Moore is a party loyalist when it comes to organizing the Senate and even on some policies, but for the most part he's a pragmatic legislator who is closely attuned to his constituents' needs and has, in fact, developed a George W. Bush-type reputation for being a unifier - reaching across party lines to get important work done.

This year, for instance, he helped broker the Confederate battle flag compromise and played key roles in getting bills passed to make life easier for the over-65 crowd: Increasing the homestead exemption to $50,000 and providing some prescription drug relief. His shortcoming is that he's thin-skinned when it comes to criticism.

Even so, TOMMY MOORE, D-Clearwater, is a team player with Senate seniority who deserves re-election.

There are three CSRA Palmetto State House incumbents being challenged, but the opponents barely show up on the radar screen.

Don Smith, R-North Augusta, rolled over his District 83 foe with 76 percent of the vote in a special House election a few months ago. Now Smith's being challenged again by the same Democrat. Look for the same outcome. Our recommendation for the House District 83: REP. DON MARTIN.

Two extremely capable veteran GOP House members are being challenged in Districts 84 (Aiken County) and 86 (Aiken-Orangeburg counties) by no-names who have not earned serious consideration.

Voters need only consider this: The two long-term incumbent Republicans have amassed considerable seniority over the years, providing them with much clout on powerful committees that shape the lives of every South Carolina resident. No sensible voter would want to sacrifice that kind of power unless it were abused, and in these cases it certainly hasn't been.

Hence, we urge returning to Columbia District 84 REP. ROLAND SMITH, R-Langley, and District 86 REP. CHARLES SHARPE, R-Wagener.