SC Dems find sacrificial lamb in race to fill McConnell's seat

Posted by Chris Haire on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 8:34 AM

You know how you can tell when the S.C. Democratic Party has decided that they can't win a race? They find an old fart to run.

In the 2002 race to replace U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, it was former College of Charleston prez Alex Sanders. His opponent: then-U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham, a rising star in Washington. In fact, Graham may have been the only major player to emerge from the Monica Lewinsky scandal smelling like a freshly dry-cleaned dress. As expected, Sanders lost.


In the 2010 race to take on Tea Party fave Jim DeMint for South Carolina's junior U.S. Senate seat, the S.C. Democratic Party establishment selected Charleston County Councilman Vic Rawl. The long-in-the-tooth Rawl was unexpectedly defeated by the Mystery Man of Manning, S.C., Alvin Greene, in the Democratic Party primary. While some believed there was some huge conspiracy, perhaps even some election-day vote rigging, the truth is Rawl ran a lackluster and virtually invisible campaign. As the Dems had predicted, DeMint won.

And now in the 2012 race to fill Glenn McConnell's former state Senate District 41 seat, we have former Charleston City Councilman Paul Tinkler. In 2007, Tinkler declined to seek re-election to City Council. He left the political arena. But now the white-haired Tinkler, a lawyer for nearly four decades, has decided that now is the time to return. Months from now, Tinkler will lose to now Lt. Gov. McConnell, who will likely announce within weeks that he plans to resign as lieutenant governor and run for his old Senate seat.

Like many of you, I thought that with Dick Harpootlian back at the helm the S.C. Democratic Party had once again grown a pair of balls. But they haven't. In fact, they are continuing their proud tradition of serving up AARP sacrificial lambs when they should be encouraging the party's hungry young bucks to run. Oh well. It would seem that even the Harpootlian of 2012 is too light in the loafers to fill even his own shoes.

Comments (11)

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Turns out Mr. Tinkler is many years younger than Mr. McConnell, but is less attached to his hairdresser and manicurist. By all standards he may be just the young buck to disturb Republican corruption and the game of public office musical chairs so popular in the Capital City.

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Posted by new post on March 14, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Wow! Where do you get off blithely dismissing Vic Rawl, Alex Sanders and Paul Tinkler? All three are accomplished, highly respected attorneys. Sanders' list of accomplishments (first Chief Judge of South Carolina's Court of Appeals; President of the College of Charleston) make him one of the most respected South Carolinians of this era. Rawl was one of the kinder, humbler circuit court judges I encountered during my time practicing personal injury law. I know Tinkler to be an outstanding trial attorney and mediator. None were "has-beens" at the time they ran for public office.

While winning an election in South Carolina as a Democrat is difficult (outside of a few urban or African American districts), these gentlemen deserve our respect for offering themselves as candidates. How is your ad hominem attack helpful?

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Posted by Gregory Forman on March 15, 2012 at 7:01 AM


Here's the deal: Old guys who have been in office for while, get re-elected. Old guys who are running for an office for the first time at the state or federal level, do not. It's that simple.

If you run an old guy for a post that he hasn't run for before, he's nothing more than token opposition.

Believe you me, I have nothing but respect for the achievements of Sanders, Rawl, and Tinkler. But in the case of the three campaigns mentioned above, I think it's clear that none of them ever thought they were going to win and were only running because the younger guys in the Democratic Party were too chickenshit to do so.

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Posted by chrishaire on March 15, 2012 at 7:32 AM

Good piece. I am not sure but I believe that Lt Gov McConnell can run for Senate without stepping down from the Lt Gov position. Assuming he wins he would automatically go out of the Lt Gov position into the senate position and then the current pro-tem would become Lt Gov upon his election.

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Posted by nofaith on March 15, 2012 at 9:22 AM

It takes a lot of guts to take on the Republican establishment. I admire Tinkler for doing so knowing that they will unfairly attack him. He has integrity which is like bringing a knife (integrity) to a gun fight (gutter politics).
-Lenny G

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Posted by Leonard Greene on March 15, 2012 at 9:31 AM


What Democrat do you propose run for McConnell's seat who you think would have a good chance of winning?

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Posted by Gregory Forman on March 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Fairtax for tax reform.
Return of Vocational Ed to high schools
War on diabetes

If the Democrats would adopt these three policy objectives.....they could turn SC blue

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Posted by sdr35hw on March 15, 2012 at 10:34 AM


Here's the thing: The Democratic candidate doesn't need to be able to win (In fact, McConnell will not be able to be defeated, especially now that he took on this crappy demotion, even if it just temporary.) The Democratic candidate just needs to dip his or her toes in the water. This is about creating name recognition for when they run later on down the road.

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Posted by chrishaire on March 15, 2012 at 10:54 AM

I use to think that Republican offered some hope for honesty. Apparently corruption is non-partisan.

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Posted by And if elected... on March 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Posted by mat catastrophe on March 16, 2012 at 8:21 AM

another incompetent "story" by Haire.......... Tinkler is a popular two term city councilor ........ OPPOSED BY DEMOCRATIC PARTY FIRE FIGHTERS for Hundley, Tinkler would have won in a landslide wth those hundreds of UNION BOYS putting out yard signs & knocking on doors for a real DEMOCRAT like Paul Tinkler.... so Chris Haire spews forth his incompetent non-sense as if there are YOUNG BUCK blues skilled and funded to run a winning campaign ? Democrats are too busy voting for TOMMY MOORE FOR CREATIONISM against women's choice and against MARRIAGE EQUALITY.... the problem is a top down problem, not a grass roots movement from below HEAVILY CENSORED BY the news media..... successful politicians begin like Bobby Harrell as a high school page in the General Assembly......... when any party puts their money & mouths behind young WOMEN to run from 16 onward, the good old boys will lose in a vast majority VOTING THEIR SELF INTERESTS not their petty church agenda 843-926-1750 @Greens926_1750 we need money for interns from high schools and colleges NOT BRIBING KIDS WITH SCARCE CORPORATION JOBS but grass roots MARKETPLACE JOBS GROWING THE LOCAL GREEN ECONOMY @JillStein2012

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Posted by Peace Veteran on October 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM
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