Tem Miles, Republican, S.C. House District 89

Tem and the Miles fam.

Tem and the Miles fam.

Tem Miles came in second in the GOP primary for S.C. House District 89 Tuesday. He got 25 percent of the vote to Micah Caskey’s 36 percent. (Those percentages are from a tiny turnout — Caskey got 1,026 actual votes, and Miles got 717.)

But he’s already gotten a boost in the runoff on June 28. Bill Banning, the former Lexington county councilman who came in third with 21 percent, has endorsed Miles, based on his belief that “experience matters.”

That’s a reference to the fact that between the two young attorneys, Miles is the only one to have held elective office previously. In fact, as a West Columbia city councilman, Miles is the veteran of some pretty unpleasant confrontations with former Mayor Joe Owens. He was re-elected last year.

Miles also cites other experience, serving in two of the state’s three branches of government. The Citadel grad formerly clerked for Appeals Court judge Paul. E. Short Jr., and served as attorney for the Office of Senate Research. Today, he’s in private practice with the McKay Firm.

His list of goals if elected, as listed on his website, are pretty similar to those cited by his opponent, and not appreciably more detailed:

Tem Goals

Since it was the item that interested me most (hey, you want something other than that, go to some other blog!), I asked him what he meant by “reforming state government,” noting that the few words he had about it on his website suggested he was mostly talking about ethics reform.Tem Miles

But his notion of “reform,” it turns out, is much broader and to the point than that. In fact, he defines it pretty much the way I do.

Turns out that, although he was probably in middle school when my “Power Failure” project ran in the paper in 1991, he seems to have absorbed its main lessons from somewhere.

So, like Arlo Guthrie and the other fellas on the Group W bench, we just had a high ol’ time talking about the Legislative State, special purpose districts, judicial selection, co-equal branches of government, and all kinds of groovy things that would probably make your eyes glaze over — but which are the very things a lawmaker should care about if he’s running on RE-form.

Some high points from that discussion:

  • He would turn more real power over “to our governor” — although he hastened to add that he didn’t specifically mean this governor, just governors in the future. Bottom line, the executive branch must be more empowered in other to be a co-equal branch with the dominant Legislature.
  • He would empower the judiciary in part by giving it a set percentage of the state budget to run on, rather than judges having to go begging to the Legislature for funding.
  • He would further free the judiciary from the legislative branch by changing the method of judicial selection, which now lies completely in the hands of lawmakers. Rather than say he would move to the federal system, he said he would select them like worker’s comp commissioners — the governor nominates, and the full Senate confirms. In other words, the federal system.
  • “We’d be so much further along as a state,” he said, if we fully implemented Home Rule — by which he meant local governments should be run by the folks elected locally to do that, instead of by county legislative delegations and their creatures, such as SPDs.

There was more, but you get the idea. Either that, or you zoned out. Anyway, the idea is RE-form.

So that’s what I know about Tem (short for “Temus“) Miles, who is facing Micah Caskey in the runoff on June 28.

3 thoughts on “Tem Miles, Republican, S.C. House District 89

  1. Scout

    Standing up to Joe Owens is a plus for me. Both of these guys seem very reasonable. This is hard. But it’s kind of nice to have an election between two desirable candidates; seems like that hasn’t happened in awhile.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep, we’re lucky. One doesn’t often get a choice between two strong candidates in a legislative race.

      Some districts are luckier than others. I remember we used to think that people in District 79 were particularly blessed. There was a string of several elections in which they were offered choices between very strong candidates — such as in 2006, when they had a general election choice (that rare thing) between Anton Gunn and Bill Cotty. As I recall, we really liked Anton a lot but went with Cotty because he was a very pro-education Republican and we felt we couldn’t afford to lose him in the House. Then, when he retired, we went with Anton two years later.

      As I wrote on the blog in 2006, “This is one of those races that make you wonder why we can’t spread political talent out a little more evenly in this state.”…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Anton didn’t stay in the House long (although he did an excellent job while he was there), and was replaced by Mia McLeod.

        She isn’t running for re-election — she’s seeking Joel Lourie’s Senate seat instead — and the Democrats running to succeed her are in a runoff. I don’t really know anything about them — beyond, as Will Rogers would have said, what I read in the papers.

        Which unfortunately isn’t much, since Cindi didn’t have time to endorse in anything but Richland sheriff and 11 Circuit solicitor…


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