Originally created 04/14/02

Five battle for No. 2 position



AIKEN - With five candidates in the race for lieutenant governor - four to face one another in about two months in the GOP primary - standing out in the crowd will reap rewards.

State Sen. Andre Bauer, of Lexington, began walking the state a year ago, delivering on his promise to be close to the people. He even gives handwritten birthday cards to supporters.

Rep. Rita Allison, of Lyman, has a theme song: "Rita's the name, always the same! Speaking to the issues is her favorite game."

The No. 2 job in the South Carolina state government is often a bully pulpit. But it could be used more effectively, the candidates say.

Mrs. Allison, Mr. Bauer and Sen. David Thomas, of Greenville, will face off in the June 11 Republican primary. The winner will meet Sen. Phil Leventis, of Sumter, in November.

On Thursday, the last candidate to file for the race, Rep. George E. "Chip" Campsen III, R-Mount Pleasant, bowed out, saying the race would take him away from his family too much. Mr. Campsen had filed just hours before the March 30 deadline.

All the candidates have pet issues, but they say their records in the Legislature offer voters a glimpse of how they would perform as lieutenant governor.

"People don't have to guess with me," Mr. Thomas said.

He wants to eliminate personal property taxes and freeze business taxes. He would support raising the sales tax by 2 cents to replace the funds.

Mr. Bauer has still another approach - getting closer to his constituents. He is a substitute schoolteacher, visits prisons and is taking a reserve deputy course in Lexington County.

For the past four years, Republican Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler and Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges have been at odds over many issues.

The candidates hoping to replace Mr. Peeler, who is running for governor, say it won't matter who is above them - they'll keep pushing issues people care about.

Reach Matthew Boedy at (803) 648-1395 or matthew.boedy@augustachronicle.com.