Splitting the crucial “Steve” vote

For years, I’ve been telling Steve Morrison that he should run for office. Every time I hear him speak to a community group, I am struck by his quiet conviction, by the fact that he deeply cares about people, particularly the dispossessed (such as the kids in poor, rural school districts, on whose behalf he has led a long, long pro bono quest through the state’s courts).

But he always sloughed it off, modestly, thereby completing the picture of the quintessential Guy Who Ought to Run for Office But Never Does.

And now he’s thinking about running for office, and I’m not sure what to think. Says Steve:

“If I run, I will be running … to stand for visionary leadership over divisiveness, big-picture interests over pedestrian politics, solid management over risky alternatives and unity over racial discord.”

However, the interesting thing about this situation is that if he does run, he will bring not unity but a sword — one that will messily slice apart the set of people likely to vote for long-declared candidate Steve Benjamin.

You see what would happen, don’t you? If he runs, he and Mr. Benjamin will split the all-important People Who Will Vote for a Guy Named Steve vote. (OK, no more bogus Long-Winded Terms in Capital Letters — at least until the next post.)

Seriously, though, Morrison would likely draw from the same sources — heavily black precincts and Shandon — that Benjamin has been almost surely been counting on ever since Bob Coble dropped out. In other words, for those of you who prefer partisan terms (even in a race that should be blessedly free of such), the Democrats.

This means a likely win for Kirkman Finlay III. Which you might think is a good thing, but if you don’t, then you’ve got to look on a development that splits the Steve vote with some concern. You might say to them, “Hey, the essence of democracy is a wide-open selection, and anyone willing to run should be encouraged to do so, especially when it’s a good guy like Steve Morrison.” Which would be the Civics 101 thing to say. But there is a truth universally acknowledge in politics, that a single man in possession of a good fortune… no wait… wrong cliche. What I meant was, there is a truth universally acknowledged in politics, which is that once a guy with whom you might be expected to agree on a lot of things puts in a lot of time and money on the campaign trail, if you announce against him, it’s personal — as in, you’ve got a beef with the guy. Or you’re carrying water for the other guy. Or something.

When I talk to Steve (Morrison), I’m going to ask him about these things, and whether they matter, or should matter. I wasn’t going to post until I HAD talked to Steve, but I needed to go ahead and post something, it having been two days since I read the news.


5 thoughts on “Splitting the crucial “Steve” vote

  1. Greg Flowers

    So, Benjamin will get the black vote, Morrison will carry Shandon and Finlay will lead the pack. Benjamin will slightly out poll Morrison and will trounce Finlay in the runoff. Despite the fact that Finlay has proven leadership skills and, in all probability, my vote, a Republican (this non-partisan hoo hah in city elections is a sham) cannot citywide in Columbia.

    Good question as to why Morrison is doing this. He does not need to be Mayor. My guess is he won’t be telling Brad what his real reason is. Must have something to do with a lack of confidence in Benjamin. Maybe its just part of the master scheme for Nelson, Mullins to control the universe (e.g. Dwight Drake).

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    I think it’s more complex than that–
    Benjamin has issues with people who have issues with payday lenders, which includes a lot of black people, and with people who don’t much like business interests. Morrison, despite being the white shoe lawyer, is also the Corridor of Shame lawyer, so he’s a favorite of the do-gooder crowd. Benjamin did get the SC Bar Pro Bono Lawyer Award a few years ago as a young solo practitioner, but Morrison’s credentials are solid gold in that regard. So I guess it really comes down to Finlay is the Right, Bejamin is the Center and Morrison is the Left. Some lefties will vote for Benjamin b/c he’s black or b/c they’ve already committed to him.

    J.T. McLawhorn sure telegraphed a lot of positive about Morrison in my reading of The State’s article.

  3. Brad Warthen

    J.T. and Steve M. are close. I had breakfast with both of them recently. They are longtime allies; Steve was chairman of the Urban League board quite recently.

  4. Greg Flowers

    “speaking of the “Corrridor of Shame” case, what is it’s status? Has it been argued before the Supremes?

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