Some time ago — and it’s frustrating me that I can’t put my hands on it at the moment — Brad Hutto gave a speech somewhere in the Upstate in which he announced that Democrats were in the driver’s seat in the SC Senate.
That startled some who heard it, but there’s a certain truth to it, if you consider how divided the Republican caucus is. There are only 18 Democrats in a body of 46, but it’s not unusual for the Republicans to split between, say, 16 regular Country Club, Chamber of Commerce Republicans, and the rest voting solidly Tea Party. (The numbers break differently, according to the issue.) That gives Democrats a solid plurality, when they stick together. (Which they don’t always do; you might even see Gerald Malloy teaming with a Tea Partier to hold up something other Democrats want.)
Democratic muscle can exert itself in some seemingly surprising ways — such as when John Courson became president pro tem based on Democratic support.
Anyway, we keep seeing signs that increasingly, Tea Partiers wear their “R” designation lightly, placing greater emphasis on their snake-flag loyalties.
A small example of that was in this release today from Lee Bright, in the wake of his getting crushed by Lindsey Graham:
Bright Campaign Falls Short – But Accomplished Much
Lee Bright and five other challengers could not hold well-funded Lindsey Graham under the needed 50 per cent threshold in South Carolina’s Republican Senate PrimaryTuesday night – but the insurgent campaign of the Upstate Senator did defy gravity – and Bright was the dominant challenger from wire to wire. While all the financial figures are not in yet, Bright for Senate will clearly have the best vote to dollars spent ratio.
Bright ended up with 15.4% of the vote, almost double his nearest competitor – Richard Cash. He held Graham well under 50% in Spartanburg and Greenville Counties, and doubled up Nancy Mace in Charleston County.
“Our team and our volunteers worked extremely hard, and even though we fell short, we have a lot to be proud of,” said Bright, who added, “With Eric Cantor’s defeat in Virginia, some good things happened for the country on Tuesday, even if not in our race. We’re going to continue to fight for what we believe, and we understand that the fight for liberty never ends.”
Bright added that he was “humbled by the work of our volunteers – from making phone calls to making signs – these people kept me going. I am proud to have been in this fight with them.” Bright also said that he hopes “Lindsey Graham’s recent aversion to ObamaCare will continue, now that the Primary is over. We’re going to hold him to that.”
See that? “With Eric Cantor’s defeat in Virginia, some good things happened for the country on Tuesday…”
It’s not at all surprising that he’d say that, but sometimes it’s instructive to stop and think, “He’s celebrating the defeat of his own (supposed) party’s majority leader.” And realize that Tea Party Republicans are getting less Republican each day…
What’s ironic is that Republicans who sympathize with the Tea Party are sometimes the first to call real, traditional Republicans “RINOs.” When of course, it’s the other way around.
SC Republican voters on Tuesday showed that they’ve picked up on that, in their utter rejection of Lindsey Graham’s challengers…