2010 election update

Catching up on last week’s doings…

House Speaker Bobby Harrell was the keynote speaker at the Columbia Urban League‘s Equal Opportunity Day banquet last Thursday night at Seawell’s, as mentioned previously. How did he do? Well, by the abysmal standards of recent governors and would-be governors, I’d say he did a middlin’ job.

It was only the second time I’ve heard him give a set speech — last time was to my Rotary a while back — and he was better then. I suspect he read that one, and was therefore more confident in his material. This time, he trying doing the off-the-cuff thing, riffing on what had been done and said earlier in the evening, and while he didn’t say anything to embarrass himself, he came across as a little jumpy, a bit ill-at-ease in his bonhomie.

Mind you, he’d have to go some to beat the worst speech I ever heard delivered to that group, and I don’t think he was feeling that ambitious. The standard for sheer, mortifying awfulness, of course, was the infamous "Let’s Make a Deal" address delivered by Jim Hodges back in 1999. The few folks with the Urban League who got an advance look at it begged him throughout the dinner not to deliver it, but he went ahead. Here’s a link to our editorial on the subject (which I think I wrote, but it’s hard to remember).

But enough with the nostalgia. As I said, the Speaker’s speech wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t his best. He tried winging it — with impromptu comments about folks he saw in the audience — and if he gains any handlers between now and election time, they should probably revoke his winging-it privileges. One good thing about it, though — he did give my blog a plug.

And on the whole, he made friends there that night, and that’s the point of such speeches at this stage of the game, right?

Anyway, this prompts me to engage briefly in the parlor game of naming the likely gubernatorial candidates at this time. Remind me if I’m forgetting anybody. There’s…


  • Bobby himself. I don’t look for him to declare himself unless and until
    some of these other possibilities bow out. Who would give up the real
    power of being Speaker for the ceremonial honor of being governor if
    it’s not a sure thing?
  • David Wilkins — The former speaker is said to be eying a triumphant march back below the 49th parallel.
  • Billy Wilkins — The distinguished jurist and brother of the ambassador to the Great White North is also being mentioned.
  • Gresham Barrett — The congressman has been known to make gubernatorial noises similar to those of Mr. Harrell.
  • Jim Ritchie — Best known for his forward-looking green buildings initiative and the immigration issue, this Upstater is the one state senator known to be considering a demotion.


  • Joe Erwin — Little known outside of the party structure, this former chairman will have to live down his association with payday lending.
  • James Smith — The former House Democratic leader would be the one candidate able to claim war-hero status.
  • Inez Tenenbaum — The Democrats’ top proven vote-getter — who incidentally was one of the folks Mr. Harrell singled out to say nice things about from the podium last week, she’d probably have the best shot at the nomination if she wants it. She’d be pinning her general election chances on it NOT being a presidential election year, unlike her last outing.

2 thoughts on “2010 election update

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *