It's a 7th District Kind of Day in Marion County ...
At long last, the touring of all the counties before the District Convention has ended.. Yeah, eight counties in the 7th District isn't too much driving a round, but when you consider we had to finish up in the 6th (another dozen counties), we've been doing a lot of running around. For now, the end of the campaign trail is coming to end - and we're looking forward to it!
It's definitely taken it's toll on everyone running. I've been sick for two months with whatever this is I've got, Tom has a bad cough, Elijah's got a bug, and Brad Richardson has been in the hosptial for a week. Compared to us, he's been in much worse shape, but hopefully he got out, and will be at tomorrow's convention. It's pretty sad when Tommy Phillips appears to be the healthiest one out of all of us!
But, we did have one last stop at the Marion County GOP meeting at the Beeson Building last night. It was supposed to be featuring three candidates for the 7th Congressional District seat, but Chad Prosser was a no show. We were disappointed, because we hadn't heard him before, but the whispers that PRT didn't stand for Parks, Recreation and Tourism, but Prosser's Rarely There came out again. We're sure he'll be there tomorrow, so we'll wait another day..
The other two scheduled candidates, Randal Wallace and Renee Culler, did show. To say that the meeting got off to a bumpy start was an understatement, but it got better quickly. Chairman Eric Fry allowed Culler's husband, Tony, speak first... We won't get too much into details about it, but there was been some bad blood between Culler and Florence First Vice-Chair Stephanie Rawlinson for a couple months, and it came to a head at Monday's first debate - and both happened to be here last night. Tony Culler spoke for a minute, and Fry hoped it was going to be a short, conciliatory speech, but it's rare for a parent to be forgiving when it involves your kids. Fry had to cut Culler off, and he gave Rawlinson a minute to give her side of things, and it was overwith. Not to sound unfeeling, but these things happen when you get two people who say what they think. It's one of those situations that we're sure they didn't find any humor in, but being outside of it, it's not too big a deal. Hopefully, it'll blow over..
Now, onto the rest of the night - what we'll call domestic bliss, comparatively speaking. Fry is not only County Chair, he is also running for Jim Battle's old seat in the SC House. No, it's not a very red area, but our guess is there are many more closet Republicans there than numbers indicate. Fry is a solid Republican, and he will be a good representative for our party, win or lose.. He's young, and should be around for the GOP there for a while..
Next up was Renee Culler. We've seen here before in one of her first speeches in Williamsburg, and she was much sharper last night. I joked with her that her on air interview with Bill Pickle sounded 'like she had a couple too many cups off coffee' that morning, but she was a lot better. Calm, reserved and friendly, she made her points, didn't go too long, and outlined why she felt her qualifications were unique. Considering the distraction of the first couple minutes, she was solid. In this race, it may not help much in the polls, but how you look in the end is just as important as how you did in the primary...
Lastly for the candidates was Horry Councilman Randal Wallace... Armed with a chart showing the difference between how much the Federal Government spends, and what it collects - and where it goes - Wallace is a pretty realistic candidate. He is fully aware that to get any closer to balancing the budget, tough decisions will need to be made. That, and whoever has the guts to make those decisions will be subject to a ton of criticism and exaggerations... Social Security, Medicare, Discretionary Spending and Defense all will need to be reevaluated. He also is aware that our tax system would need to be simplified. He mentioned a liking to FairTax (like Culler), but admitted it is too unrealistic to ever be passed, and a Flat Income Tax would be the way to go. We'll take it any way we can! To his credit, he was the last person to leave the meeting as well..
In between, both Tom Grimes and Elijah Jones gave their last speeches before Saturday's convention. After months of running around, and both having been here before, they know most of the delegates' minds are made up. That being the case, they both kept it very short, thanked everyone for listening and being involved - and that was about it. Short and Sweet...
Not including the congressional candidates, the work for the district candidates is just about over... We're looking forward to getting this overwith, and knowing who our leadership will be. See you there !