The Issues on the Table

This will be a rundown that’s pretty specific to my area/state, because while there are some high profile races happening all over, these are the ones I can influence. If you live somewhere besides Greenville, SC, you should do your own research-there is still time, and it is important. I know some people have said they’re tired of being told to vote, or who to vote for, and I get it: politics are very much in our face at all times right now. But here’s the thing: doing your own research and then voting will take less time than you’d think. Additionally, there are probably parts of our nation you want to change right now, no matter who you are, and this is a direct way for you to do that.

(You can go here to see a sample ballot for your precinct, and, if you’re in South Carolina, you can go here to see 1. whether you’re registered and 2. where you’re supposed to vote tomorrow!) Now, to the races!

U.S. House District 4

  • William Timmons (R) -you can see Timmons’ voting record in the South Carolina Senate here. I don’t think he’s done a bad job per se, but his campaign ads strongly compared him to Trey Gowdy, who I did not like. In addition, his support for a southern wall at the border makes him a no-go for me.
  • Guy Furay (A)- some of Furay’s positions appeal to me, namely his stances on healthcare reform and gun reform. However, he never quite mentions actionable steps, and on every platform seems noncommittal about taking a clear position. I’m not against voting third party, but this is not where I want to cast my vote.
  • Brandon Brown (D)-Okay, don’t go look at his website. It’s not pretty. His positions, though, are things I can go along with: he is against arming teachers as a means of “securing our schools”, is pro-environment, and against the tariffs that have affected several big businesses in South Carolina. Brown will get my vote.

South Carolina Governor

  • Henry McMaster (R)-McMaster became Governor after Nikki Haley was chosen to be Ambassor to the UN. The top 3 priorities his campaign listed for the League of Women voters are jobs, Relief for Ratepayers (related to the VC Summer project), and “Law & Order”. Surprisingly, he does not mean bringing all the seasons and spinoffs to a streaming service near you; his intentions are to get resource officers for every school, and banning sanctuary cities in the state. Entirely less fun than watching Olivia Benson and Ice-T take down perps. His positions on gun safety also leave much to be desired, mentioning common sense gun laws but in the midst of saying several times that he supports the 2nd Amendment. He also seems to believe gerrymandering is not something that happens in South Carolina, which is absurd. 
  • James Smith (D)-In contrast, Smith’s camp lists affordable healthcare, education, and jobs as his top 3 priorities. His clear and concise plans for gun control are encouraging, and he seems to be aware of issues like gerrymandering and inequitable funding in schools. Some have said they cannot vote for Smith in clear conscience due to his stance on abortion. McMaster’s camp certainly has stoked that flame: his spokeswoman is quoted as saying 

“James Smith is the anti-religious liberty, abortion-on-demand, high-tax candidate in this race, which is antithetical to everything Upstate voters stand for. Not only are the numbers not there for him, but voters will turn out in droves to keep this socialist wannabe out of the governor’s mansion.” (Link)

  • The fearmongering by McMaster’s mouthpiece (especially using the phrase “abortion on demand”, which has never been a thing in our state or country, to my knowledge) is a smokescreen. Being pro-life is about more than just pro-birth, and I feel good about Smith’s positions; he seems concerned with holistically improving the lives of South Carolinians across the financial and social spectrums, and across age groups.

SC Secretary of State

  • Mark Hammond (R)
  • Melvin Whittenberg (D)
  • I don’t know that there’s a clear and discernible choice here-Hammond is the incumbent, and seems to be doing an okay enough job that I didn’t know him by name and collective groan from my friend group. I will be voting for Whittenberg, though, because he has some interesting ideas (namely a cross-disciplinary think tank to, among other things, bring better internet providers to SC, as well as encouraging minority business owners), and would take pride in the office.

SC Attorney General

  • Constance Anastopoulo (D)
  • Alan Wilson (R)
  • Again, my voting position is less strongly “for” someone, and more “voting against the opponent’s principles”. In this case, Alan Wilson boasts about leading the states’ challenge to the federal healthcare mandate, and fighting “EPA overreach” (his site’s wording). I will give him props for passing more laws against domestic violence and sex trafficking, but almost the same amount of space on his campaign page is devoted to those issues, as is spent giving his family military history. That rubs me the wrong way, not because our military is not important (they are), but it has nothing to do with his service as Attorney General. Both candidates mention wanting to help solve the opioid epidemic in South Carolina, which is a positive.

SC Commissioner of Agriculture

Listen, I know all positions matter, but I don’t know that I care that much about some of them. Is that bad? Probably. Here we go:

  • Chris Nelums (United Citizens)
  • David Edmond (Green)
  • Hugh Weathers (Republican)
  • For me, it’s between Edmond and Weathers. Weathers has been in the position since 2005, and seems knowledgeable. His ties to agriculture come from being a fourth generation farmer; Edmond’s credentials lie in the fact he was a veterinary food inspector and did some farming in his childhood. I like Edmond’s support of farmers markets, but I think his goals are probably too lofty for the office (curing cancer is a noble pursuit, but I’m not sure it’s for that position to do…)

SC State Treasurer

  • Rosalyn Glenn (D)-Glenn certainly has the background for the position, as she’s been in financial management for 25 years. I’m concerned about how realistic her expectations for the position are, however.
  • Curtis Loftis (R)-Loftis is the incumbent, and seems pleased with his previous performance of the necessary tasks. He says he has tripled the College Savings Plan (and wants to double it still), and returned a record amount of unclaimed property to South Carolinians. His endorsements come from Tea Party members and the NRA, though, so it’s a pass from me.
  • Sarah Work (A)-I like Sarah Work’s nonpartisan attitudes, and that she wants to bring a certain amount of ethics and transparency to the position that I feel Loftis has lacked (namely, she does not want to use money gained from pimping out the College Savings Plan to support her political aspirations, which is a charge she’s leveled at Loftis).

SC Superintendent of Education

  • There’s a caveat here: technically, Molly Spearman (R) is running unopposed, after her Democratic opponent withdrew. She’s not doing a bad job, as far as I can tell; under her supervision, new buses have been purchased, and she cares about the teacher shortage.
  • There is a write-in campaign for Michele Phillips, a teacher from Charleston. I like the plans she’s laid out for some issues she has seen in the state, from funding inequity to recruiting shortages for teachers. I’m torn here, because I don’t know that she has enough support to make a difference, but reviews on Spearman are hot and cold; some find her take-charge attitude refreshing (it certainly gets results), but others find it abrasive, or a sign of government overreach.

SC House of Representatives District 22

  • Jason Elliott (R)-There was quite the stir when Elliott was elected; he’s the state’s first openly gay legislator, and some who voted for him felt duped. His politics are staunchly in line with the Republican party, though: he is pro-life, pro-guns, and pro-arming teachers. He rails against government overreach, while also calling for many of the positions I am listing here to no longer be elected, but appointed by the Governor.
  • BK Brown (D)-There is not a lot of information on this candidate, but the Greenville News says he is “pro choice, pro gun sense, pro public schools, pro environment and pro health care, and that he believes that government is meant to be a service to citizens and not a business.” I agree with some of these tenets, so I will be voting for the underdog here.

SC Solicitor Circuit 13

  • Walt Wilkins (R)-In the last few days, it has come to light that Wilkins borrowed a gun from evidence (on the suggestion of the then-Sheriff) for his own protection, and later that gun was stolen from his car and never recovered. He blames the then-Sheriff for saying it was okay to take. This is literally all I know about the man.
  • Lucas Marchant (I)-Marchant is on the ballot in some locations, and will have to be write-in in others. He is big on common-sense approaches to prosecution, and seems to genuinely care about justice for all parties involved. I believe he is also serious about restorative justice, which I strongly support.

Unopposed Offices (as far as I can tell)

  • SC Comptroller General: Richard Eckstrom (R)

Amendments

Amendment 1 is also on the ballot: it puts to vote whether South Carolinians want to keep voting for Superintendent of Education (in which case, you’d vote No for the Amendment) or whether we want the Governor to appoint that position (in which case, you’d vote Yes). I like having options, so I am voting No.

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