Palmetto Public Record pretty well sums up life in a Uniparty State:
Several Republican elected officials in the Lowcountry are refusing to debate their opponents, prompting questions of whether the politicians are taking their election — and constituents — for granted.
On Monday, the League of Women Voters hosted a candidates forum and debate for House District 114. The seat is currently held by House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston), who has faced widespread criticism in recent weeks over questionable reimbursements from his campaign fund.
Given the controversy which has surrounded Harrell, you’d think the House Speaker would view the forum as a perfect opportunity to reassure voters. Nope! Petition candidate John Steinberger and Green Party candidate Larry Carter Center were the only candidates to attend, according to the Charleston Post & Courier’s Robert Behre:
Both Center and Steinberger called for term limits, and both took jabs at Harrell. Steinberger said House members should not review ethics complaints filed against fellow members, as is currently done. Center complained about Harrell being affiliated with a political action committee that gives money to House candidates.“There are no leadership PACs in the Senate, but Bobby writes the rules, and he gets the money he wants,” Center said.
Harrell isn’t the only South Carolina Republican to skip out on his opponents and constituents during the 2012 campaign. Earlier this month, Rep. Peter McCoy (R-Charleston) refused to attend a similar League of Women Voters-sponsored forum with his Democratic opponent, Carol Tempel.
In South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, Republican incumbent Tim Scott also refused to debate his Democratic opponent, Bobbie Rose. According to Rose, Scott was a no-show at the 2010 debates as well.
“I feel that the voters have a right to hear from both the incumbent and his challengers on issues in a forum that allows real comparison among the parties,” commented Rose. “I don’t understand the hesitation. Don’t we have a right to hear from our congressman?”
Dr. Agnes Pomata of Wadlamaw Island attended the debates in hopes of hearing from the candidates, and expressed her frustrations in a letter to the Charleston Post & Courier:
What has happened to our democracy, when those elected to office feel they have the right to refuse to meet their constituents, engage in debate and answer questions prior to election?If this is the level of commitment to our community that our incumbent candidates show prior to election, can we possibly expect them to respond to our issues and needs after they have been re-elected?
Republicans took control of the South Carolina General Assembly in 2001. The Palmetto State had a 4% unemployment rate at the time, and 24 other states had higher unemployment rates.
By the time the Republicans took over the governor’s office in 2002, unemployment in South Carolina had risen to 6.3 percent — and only 11 other states had higher unemployment rates.
After 10 years of absolute Republican control of state government, South Carolina’s unemployment rate currently sits at 9.6 percent. Only five other states have higher unemployment rates than the Palmetto State.
South Carolina Republicans have been arguing that the U.S. economy isn’t better than it was four years ago, and therefore President Obama doesn’t deserve to be reelected. Regardless of whether they’re correct, shouldn’t the same standard apply to them?
They apparently don’t want to give voters the opportunity to ask them about it directly.