Originally created 11/05/04

Wise choices

There were no big surprises in South Carolina's election results. Perhaps this was because voters made the right decisions Tuesday.

Although Republican Jim DeMint convincingly beat Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, as expected, for the state's U.S. Senate seat, some smart aleck pundits had picked Tenenbaum as their candidate to pull off an upset. It wasn't to be. However, it's understandable why some thought she might win.

DeMint, with his free-trade views, alienated much of the state's incredibly shrinking textile industry, which is seeking protection from unfair competition abroad.

Interestingly, DeMint was campaigning to replace the nation's No. 1 protectionist, longtime Democratic Sen. "Fritz" Hollings. Tenenbaum picked up on Hollings' philosophy, promising to "protect'" South Carolina jobs and calling for a moratorium on more global trade pacts.

But DeMint's message of creating more jobs resonated stronger than Tenenbaum's.

His victory does not mean he'll turn a blind eye to China's unfair assault on the state's textile industry, but it does signal that he will use his Senate seat to seek more of South Carolina's prosperity in the global marketplace instead of relying on the domestic textile industry.

Palmetto State voters also have the hospitality industry, as well as law-enforcement and anti-drunk driving activists, heaving a sigh of relief after approving an amendment to the state constitution that paves the way for the legislature to allow bars and restaurants to serve free-hand-poured alcoholic drinks instead of being required to use mini-bottles. Free-hand drinks are safer because they are smaller and weaker, and they provide customers more choices in the drinks they order.

Finally, Aiken County wisely approved extending the 1-cent local option sales tax for up to seven more years, or until $114.4 million is raised, whichever comes first.

This was a sales tax referendum that had something in it for everyone and should greatly improve the county's quality of life and infrastructure, while keeping property taxes down. We're confident voters will be glad they passed it.


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