Doug forms impression of Haley strength, Sheheen weakness


Our own Doug Ross attended IT-ology’s Summit on Information Technology today, and this is his report:

Nikki Haley did the quick welcome speech to the crowd this morning.  Never had seen her before in person…   I was impressed with her energy and her ability to speak without notes.  She laid out what will probably be a theme for the next few months:  a growing economy built on encouragingcompanies to come to South Carolina.    What was more indicative of what’s in store for Vincent Sheheen was when Ed Sellers (Chairman BCBS – you probably knew that) got up after Nikki left and said that Haley and her team (Bobby Hitt and others) were the best administration  he had worked with in 25 years in terms of economic development.   Otis Rawl followed Sellers with more praise for Nikki.    If I were Vincent Sheheen, I’d drop out now… I don’t think he’s going to come as close as last time.
The mayor also spoke briefly and did a good job of selling Columbia as a place to grow technology business.   He was late so he wasn’t in the room when Haley was there.    My cynical self wonders if that was on purpose.

As I’ve said many times, Nikki makes a great first impression, and connects really well with a group of people.

I agree that Vincent’s in trouble, and not only because he’s not as good at connecting with a crowd. Four years ago, the state chamber (Otis Rawl’s organization) backed him, which was extraordinary for a Democrat. I had already seen indications that wasn’t going to happen again. This is another indication of that.

And when a guy like Ed Sellers goes that far in his praise, it’s important. But I suspect he really mostly appreciates Bobby Hitt.

Something is going to have to change for Vincent Sheheen to be as competitive as he was last time around, much less win. The incumbent has positioned herself well for another four years, even without the Year-Of-The-Tea-Party advantage she enjoyed in 2010.

25 thoughts on “Doug forms impression of Haley strength, Sheheen weakness

  1. Barry

    As I’ve said several times on here – absent Governor Haley leaving on vacation the day before a hurricane hits the South Carolina coast, she will will again- and win rather easily.

    Unemployment is down in South Carolina. Business does appear to be growing. Even though our roads are falling apart, not enough people care about that issue – and most people (me included) aren’t sure a governor could help that much anyway – at least anytime soon.

    (I voted for Sen. Sheheen in 2010.)

    For starters, Senator Sheheen doesn’t have the personality to beat her. To beat her you’d have to be a “down home” candidate type (again, as a minimum) Senator Sheheen doesn’t come across that way – even though he tries hard to do so.

    1. Doug Ross

      That’s why Democrats should punt at put up a black candidate. Sheheen won’t inspire people to go to the polls but a black candidate might. Go for broke and for big issues – like taking down the flag; dropping the lottery and supporting casino gambling instead; raising the gas tax to pay for roads;
      These are all topics Sheheen will dance around.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Dropping the lottery would not be a winning position with Democrats. They’re too invested in the lottery. They believe the last Democratic governor got elected on it, and that’s that.

        1. Doug Ross

          The lottery has distributed most of the money from lower income blacks to upper and middle class white kids to go to college… and the colleges have increased tuition due to those scholarships to the point where they are less valuable.

          A casino in Myrtle Beach would be a huge winner, especially in the offseason. I went to Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticutt a couple weeks ago and the place was top notch… lots of direct and indirect jobs would result.

          1. Silence

            Agreed that we gambled on education, and lost. A casino in MB would do well, I think, or one on HHI or any other tourist hotspot. But does MB really need to be more of a draw? What can we do for Barnwell, Allendale, Marion & Marlboro?

            1. bud

              Let’s go all in. Casinos at MB. Horse tracks on Hilton Head. Throw in a dog track in the upstate and all of a sudden SC becomes the gambling mecca of the east coast. But Sheheen is too restricted by his ultra boring self. Oh well another 4 years of poor appointments such as DSS and DOT, low wages, extremely poor health care that results in lowest life expectancy in the USA (why on earth reject the Medicaid money). But that’s SC. First in foolishness. Last in everything else.

          2. Kathy

            Why are rural areas undeserving of anything that would help them survive and thrive, Mark? I hope that was a little joke. If it was a joke, it wasn’t funny. If it wasn’t a joke, your comment was perfectly in sync with Will Folks’ belief that rural areas should disappear. If South Carolina would offer some real help to rural areas, the whole state would be more prosperous. David Beasley was the last SC governor who valued the rural areas at all. In 2010, one-third of South Carolinians lived in rural areas. Everyone who lives in a rural community is not poor, stupid, or uneducated. Many pay taxes. Many rural citizens are working diligently to improve their circumstances and the circumstances of their neighbors. They would appreciate it if they were valued as fellow South Carolina citizens instead of being treated as bumpkins. It’s been a really long time since most rural people didn’t have access to the same media resources that urban people have. What they don’t have are job opportunities and a state government that cares what happens to them.

      2. Doug Ross

        And run against Harrell and Leatherman – not Haley. She’s teflon coated right now. Harrell could be the Achilles heel.

      3. Barry

        I actually agree with Doug in that the Dems only chances is running someone that is very bold in their vision and ideas –

        taking down the flag
        fixing roads- even raising taxes to do it
        Embracing the health care law
        Get up to the upstate and spend 3 weeks straight walking through poorer districts in greenville and spartanburg – registering voters and talking to anyone and everyone. Then do the same thing in Charleston.

        Hold numerous press conferences- dare Gov Haley to walk through those districts too-

        got to lay it on the line

        or go about it like Sheheen will – and lose.

    1. Barry

      He’s the poster guy for the “trial lawyer” label – much more so than Sheheen is – or would be accused of being. He’s Dick Harpootlian “lite” – he’s quick to label and call names when he doesn’t agree with people- and that would turn off a lot of folks.

      Plus, no one outside of Richland County has ever heard of him.

      Bakari Sellers is 4 years away from running.

  2. Harry Harris

    I think Haley is playing this well. She demonized public schools for 2 years, and now has a decent plan to assist them – pick off some middle class voters who support public schools. She has cost the state likely a couple of billion in Medicaid expansion funds and left working poor families in the gap where they can’t even get federal subsidies under the exchanges – dump on the working poor – nobody cares about them. Meanwhile her surrogates run horrible attack ads equating the Medicaid expansion with some oppressive welfare driven scheme – totally inaccurate. They then attack Sheheen’s character with other outside money for doing his job as a lawyer. She will be given credit for the improved economy for simply doing more to recruit companies than her idealogue predecessor while job losses in the country as a whole are improving. Now should one be a surprised that a health care executive paid 20 million a year praises her business efforts? Sheheen doesn’t have the savvy or the creativity to aggressively campaign outside the shrill, simplistic pronouncements and tactics of his own hired hands. The less powerful in South Carolina have only a scarce few who advocate for their interests, and they are easily marginalized by the resources of those who favor the well-off. The lapses in administration will be overlooked or blamed on Democrats who haven’t been administrative charge for over a decade. She will also run against the Feds, but probably not as caustically as she has before during her Palin buddydom.

    1. Doug Ross

      “Sheheen doesn’t have the savvy or the creativity to aggressively campaign outside the shrill, simplistic pronouncements and tactics of his own hired hands. ”

      Absolutely… excellent point. The only way to beat Haley is to go a completely different direction. Big ideas (and, no, 4K preschool is not a big idea) and positive messages. Sheheen should fire his entire campaign staff and start over.

    1. Bart


      The attack ads are disgusting and indefensible. When did Republicans suddenly become opponents of the 6th Amendment to the Constitution? All Sheheen did was exercise his duty to represent the accused in a court of law and Republicans chose to pounce on the fact that the accused were charged with domestic abuse and ultimately convicted? When did an attorney defending a client suddenly a monster because the crime is as heinous as spousal abuse or domestic violence?

      I cannot abide spousal abusers and murderers but even they have the right to be defended in court if for nothing else but to insure they receive a fair trial.

      This ad campaign is a case of hypocrisy at the highest level and may have assured my vote will be cast for Sheheen if for nothing other than a protest vote.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        I have no intention of voting for Sheheen, but I agree that the attack on him for representing clients is out of bounds. Frankly, I’m always slightly bemused when I hear conservative friends of mine make the argument that lawyers shouldn’t be legislators.

        1. Silence

          Bryan – I’ve thought about that quite a bit, and I have several problems with the lawyer/legislator model. The first one is that the legislature selects the judges, don’t they? I’m not saying that there’s any impropriety, but the opportunity is certainly there. When selecting between various attorneys, why wouldn’t you pick the one who hired the judge your case will be in front of? Makes sense to me.

          My second issue is that legislator/attorneys cases get automatically deferred while the legislature is in session, do they not? So, if I’m guilty, out on bond, and I want to put my hearing off as long as humanly possible, who would I hire?

          Third, why would I want to elect a legislator who defends scumbags? Yes, I know that everyone has the right to counsel, but I’d prefer to only hire lawyers who defend innocent people.

          Just my $.02

          1. Bryan Caskey

            All valid points. As to the first, the legislature does elect the Judges. That’s not the best system. It’s better than a popular election, but I’d prefer to have SC use the Federal model. Have the executive nominate – then have Senate consent. Maybe making the terms of Judges longer would be helpful, too. You don’t have to go all the way to lifetime appointments like federal judges, but you could.

            As to the second point, I don’t know how much that actually affects cases. I can’t speak to the criminal dockets at all, but the civil dockets don’t exactly move at lightning speed around here anyway. If your goal is to delay the trial of a case, there are plenty of ways to do that without having to use the tactic of hiring a legislator/lawyer. I’m not saying this isn’t a valid criticism, but I’m not sure how much this actually happens.

            As to your third point, this is what I hear most often. I’m not sure I have much of a rebuttal but to say that everyone deserves an attorney – even people who aren’t likeable.

            As to criminal defense, my only experience was a short stint in the DuPage County Public Defender’s Office during law school. DuPage is the county immediately to the west of Cook County (Chicago). While I worked there, I would have people (usually non-lawyers) come up to me and say something along the lines of “How can you defend these guilty people?”

            My answer was that the DuPage County Public Defenders didn’t view their job description as working to get their clients a non-guilty verdict. They viewed their job description as the check against prosecutors and law enforcement who might step over the lines. Illegal search? Evidence gets suppressed. Coerced confession? Same thing.

            The public defenders I worked with were some of the best constitutional lawyers ever worked with, because they actually used it in their practice everyday. They viewed themselves at defenders of their client’s rights and the opposing force that prevented prosecutors and law enforcement from overstepping their bounds. The goal wasn’t to get the client acquitted. The goal was to ensure a fair trial, according to the laws of the land.

            And sometimes that meant you were representing a serial rapist.

            1. Silence

              I know of at least one instance where a local legislator/attorney used his status as a legislator and then used paternity leave to delay a criminal trial for over a year…

  3. Bryan Caskey

    My favorite story from my time at a public defender’s office was after I had been working on a client’s case for a few weeks. I helped the public defender get some important evidence suppressed, as it was fruit of the poisonous tree. After that ruling that pretty much sealed it up, the prosecutor offered a deal, which our client accepted. Case closed.

    After sentencing (the guy still did time – just less of it) the client turned to his lawyer (my boss) and, without any sense of irony, sarcasm, or intent to insult, said: “Thanks for the good work…maybe one day you’ll become a real lawyer”.

    After everything he had done for our client, our client still thought that public defenders were some kind of less than full-status lawyer, I guess. We all got a real kick out of that.


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