Myrtle Beach will be the center of the state’s Republican world next week.
At the sixth annual South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention, GOP gubernatorial candidates Catherine Templeton, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and Yancey McGill will be in attendance answering questions from tea partiers from across the state.
Gov. Henry McMaster is not going, according to organizers.
The event isn’t a state GOP-sponsored debate, so candidates won’t actually be in conversation with each other. They’ll take questions on stage separately, for about 15 minutes each on Jan. 22.
It will nonetheless be “a great opportunity to have fellowship with like-minded conservatives,” Bryant said.
The convention was probably most popular in 2012 — its first year — when it coincided with a Republican presidential debate in Myrtle Beach. It was attended by Newt Gingrich, who a few days later won the South Carolina GOP primary.
Speakers this year include former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and James E. Mitchell, who helped develop the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program and waterboarded suspects for the agency.
Joe Dugan, founder of the convention, said “political correctness is not allowed in the building” during the event, Jan. 20-22 at the Crown Reef Resort.
In an email encouraging attendance, Dugan attached a photo in line with that ethos. The black and white image of people, presumably immigrants, standing in a line was superimposed, in part, with the words: “EUROPEAN CHRISTIANS BUILT THIS NATION.”
Dugan said the picture rings true to him.
“If you don’t want to assimilate, then you don’t want to become an American,” he said.
McMaster gets pricey Air Force One bill
Gov. Henry McMaster’s campaign received a $40,000 bill from the White House last week.
That was the price for using Air Force One and Marine One so President Donald Trump could speak at a campaign fundraiser in October in Greenville. Taxpayers can’t foot the bill for campaign events.
Here is the breakdown, according to McMaster’s camp:
- Air Force One: $18,657.14
- Air Force One airfare: $18,433.66
- Air Force One inflight service: $223.48
- Marine One: $2,783.22
The expenses will be included in the governor’s disclosure filing in April.
McMaster paid $22,442 for the hotel to hold the speech, bringing to the Trump total to around $63,000.
The governor raised $200,000 in the nine days between the announcement of Trump’s visit and his appearance in the Upstate, according to campaign data. It’s unclear how much of that came from contributions to see Trump speak for 25 minutes.
McMaster’s campaign declined to say how much the Trump event raised.
Oprah would smash a S.C. Democratic primary
TV star Oprah Winfrey is kicking around a 2020 White House bid and predictions are for a slam dunk win in a S.C. Democratic presidential primary.
Here’s a survey of some of the state’s leading black Statehouse lawmakers:
“I like the idea,” said state Rep, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg. “I think it’s an excellent bookend to the Obama presidency. We’ve got the first man of color, and then this guy, followed by the first woman of color. I couldn’t think of a better scenario.”
Rep. John King, D-Chester: “I think it’s a miracle. I think she’d be a breath of fresh air. I wouldn’t even compare her to him (Trump). She is a woman of class and integrity. She’d be far better.”
Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston: In the Democratic primary in South Carolina “black women are the dominant voting base. Oprah gives us the energy to mobilize South Carolina Democrats, not just on substance but the enthusiasm we need to galvanize our party.”
He pointed to the rally Obama-Oprah rally at Williams-Brice Stadium in December 2007, saying it was packed because of Oprah, not then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama.
What should official Palmetto flag look like?
A hearing is scheduled Wednesday at the Statehouse on what the official Palmetto State flag should look like flying outside of state government buildings.
Political consultant Scott Malyerck will testify on his effort to make the flag uniform in terms of a consistent blue color, Palmetto tree shape and the gorget, or crescent moon, emblem.
The bill, S.559, is a first step toward seeking possible public input on which way to go after Malyerck saw multiple versions flying in Columbia.
Mitch McConnell flubs S.C. nuke offer
Dominion Energy’s offer to cut $1,000 refund checks for South Carolina Electric & Gas customers turned a lot of heads. It even caught the attention of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
“Because of the #TaxCutsandJobsAct, a #SouthCarolina electric and gas utility is planning to give a cash payment directly to its customers,” McConnell tweeted Wednesday.
Thing is, the cash payment has nothing to do with Republicans’ tax overhaul. And strictly speaking, it’s not coming from a South Carolina utility.
Instead, Dominion’s offer to give ratepayers $1.3 billion has everything to do with its bid to buy SCE&G’s parent company, Cayce-based SCANA Corp. after the nuclear energy plant collapse in Fairfield County.
It was a caustic week for President Donald Trump. This got us thinking about the 2016 campaign when he said during a Dec. 30, 2015 stop on Hilton Head Island:
“I’m very highly educated. I know words, I know the best words. But there’s no better word than ‘stupid.'”
Compiled by Chloe Johnson, Andy Shain, Schuyler Kropf and Thad Moore.