Hey, 2nd District — give Judd Larkins a listen

Someone knocked urgently on the door that leads in from the garage while I was having a late lunch yesterday. It was my friend and neighbor John Culp, and he had brought me a Judd Larkins yard sign.

Well, it’s about time. I got James Smith and Jaime Harrison signs for him back in 2018, and he’s been owing me.

It also reminded me. A few months back, I had breakfast with John and Clark Surratt one morning at Compton’s, and John had brought along Judd Larkins and Marcurius Byrd for us to meet. Judd is running for office, and Marcurius is his campaign manager. Later, I got him together with James Smith over coffee, and they got along well.

Oh, you haven’t heard of Judd? Well, he’s the Democratic nominee for the 2nd Congressional District. But since everyone knows that district is drawn to provide Joe Wilson with a sinecure for life, that he inherited it from Floyd Spence, and that no one else will sit in that seat so long as Joe lives, folks don’t pay much attention to who runs against him. No matter what Joe does. Or, since this is Joe we’re talking about, no matter what he doesn’t do.

So Judd doesn’t get a lot of attention. But he should, because he is the kind of person who should get elected to public office, and Joe Wilson, by comparison, is not.

At the very least, watch the one and only debate in this “race.” It’s coming up Monday night, Oct. 24, and will be webcast from River Bluff High School at 7 p.m. If you’d like to attend in person, I’m pretty sure you can still get a ticket. If you want to see it on TV, I’m told you’re out of luck.

But if you miss that, don’t worry — you can go out and read some of the extensive news coverage of this election to decide who will go to Congress and run this country, such as… wait… how about… OK, I’m not finding any. No, wait, Marcurius has posted a story on Facebook from The Lexington Chronicle, and I’m sure y’all all subscribe to that, right? In case you don’t, here’s a link.

At some other point, I’ll put up a separate post asking why we even bother to pretend to have elections for Congress, since no one knows anything about these “races.”

But now, a few words about Judd, since you probably won’t see much anywhere else. First, I urge you to go check out his website. On the “About” page, you’ll learn such things as:

Judd was born and raised in a small town in Greenwood County called Ninety Six. Judd’s father is a high-school dropout turned success businessman while Judd’s mother was a schoolteacher before tragically passing away from breast cancer when Judd was just 14 years old. Judd attended Ninety Six High School where he was a two-sport star and Track and Field State Champion.

After Graduating High School, Judd attended Clemson University where he graduated Su(m)ma Cum Laude with a degree in Language (Chinese) and International Trade. While attending Clemson, Judd spent two summers in China becoming fluent in Mandarin Judd also holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge (UK). While attending Cambridge, Judd worked on crafting a business plan for new, innovative transplant technology and also conducted market research for a finance firm located in Dublin, Ireland. After Completing his MBA, Judd was based in Luxembourg while working for an Asian Financial Company…

Yeah, that needed some editing. And yeah, he holds a master’s degree from Cambridge. Personally, I went to Oxford — my wife and I spent six days there in 2011 and had a lovely time — but I guess a master’s from Cambridge is OK, if that’s all you’ve got.

In other words, he’s a smart kid. That he’s a kid is undeniable. If you meet him, you might think that self-proclaimed champion of the kindergarten set, Joe Cunningham, looks a bit like Methuselah by comparison. But again, Judd’s a smart kid.

More than that, he’s an idealistic, thoughtful, considerate, unblemished sort of young man who would do a lot to improve our ideology-poisoned Congress — if he could get elected.

Based on what I’ve seen, Judd’s campaign has little or no money. I don’t think he’ll do as well as Adair Ford Boroughs (who at least got to be U.S. attorney), because he’s simply a lot less visible.

Basically, his campaign seems to consist mainly of going door-to-door and introducing himself to people. Nothing wrong with canvassing, of course, but it’s kind of hard to do enough of it when the odds are stacked against you to this extent. In a congressional district, there are just too many doors you’ll never have time to knock on.

“There’s just so much ground to cover,” Judd told me when I checked in with him Wednesday. “We’re probably gonna run out of time.”

But Judd tries anyway. And generally, he’s pleased with the reception he gets. He hasn’t had anybody cuss him out, in spite of his being a Democrat and all. He doesn’t seem to do as well getting time with big shots in business and politics, but “Regular folks are generally nice.”

“Folks are like, oh, I saw you last week. Thanks for being here,” he said. “We need somebody new, somebody younger.”

I would add that they need somebody who’s all about telling you what he would do if he got the chance to serve (here’s his platform), and not about how bad that other guy is. Some of the folks out there tell him that, and Judd listens. “They all seem to be tired of the fighting. Just do something,” they tell him.

Of course, if he wanted to go negative, Joe gives him plenty to work with. Adair did a good job of pointing that out — the fact that the main thing about Joe is, he does nothing. (And don’t think it’s because he’s lazy. It’s a deliberate approach, which he inherited from his predecessor Floyd Spence, who I think got it from Strom Thurmond — do nothing as a legislator, and take care of constituent service. If you do anything, it might tick people off.)

But Judd’s not interested in that. Nor does he care to go on about what’s wrong with the Republican Party, or any of that stuff so many want to yammer about.

He wants to make life better for young and old, with a particular emphasis on the small towns all over his district, such as the one he grew up in — Ninety Six. (And by the way, when he speaks, you can tell he’s from someplace like that, Cambridge or no.) Again, here’s his platform. He can also speak intelligently about international affairs, but that’s not what he talks about.

Anyway, those are the kinds of things Judd wants to do. Y’all know I’m not big on platforms and promises. But I am a big fan of Judd’s approach. He wants to identify “universal issues” that people care about regardless of politics, and then “try to find allies on the issues,” and “find a solution.”

You know all those people on both ends of the spectrum who are all about putting a proposal out there that they know the competing party will oppose, and then running against the opponents on the basis of their opposition? It’s Plan A for so many in politics. And nothing ever gets done.

Well, Judd Larkins is sort of the opposite of that. Check him out.

Oh, and yeah, I put up that sign John gave me…


13 thoughts on “Hey, 2nd District — give Judd Larkins a listen

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that Judd has gotten NO coverage from larger newspapers in the state. There was this in the Aiken paper, which is a little larger.

    This story, however, won’t help Judd much. It’s headlined, “S.C. Congressional candidate doesn’t live in the district he’s running to represent,” and they’re talking about Judd.

    Judd and his wife live in Forest Acres, and the district line runs through their neighborhood. As lines were recently drawn, he says, he was in it at one point, then out at another. He hopes he’ll be back in it if a challenge to the gerrymandering — I mean, reapportionment — succeeds.

    If not, and he wins, he’ll move.

    Does this turn me against Judd? Nah. He’s hardly a carpetbagger…

  2. Barry

    He has no chance. Kudos to him though.

    The SC Republican Party and Republican Legislature would find a way to invalidate the results if Judd won. Most people know that. Joe would never step down. Waste of time to vote for him.

  3. Barry


    I will not be voting this cycle. I actually looked into revoking my voter registration but it was more trouble than just not voting.

    I am officially out of the process. I was accused of being part of cheating and fraud in the 2020 election simply because I went to the polls and voted. So, I am just not participating in the process anymore.

    A close family friend had been a poll volunteer for almost 25 years and she has declined to help or participate anymore for many of the same reasons. She was verbally- face to face- accused of helping to push fraud after the election in November by some Trump cult members and she quit soon after. She has been called repeatedly and asked to return to help as they are desperate but she won’t even answer her phone from the local election board anymore. No one likes to be accused of cheating- especially by people that aren’t willing to volunteer or help at the polls themselves. But I expect that they achieved their goal: Get good honest people to quit helping at the polls- or make them so frustrated they just don’t vote. Mission accomplished.

    This rubbed off on my 19 year old. He’s not interested in voting either and isn’t even interested in registering. I told him he had probably saved himself needless headaches and anxiety.

    The only regret – and it’s very minute- is that in our family there is a tradition of younger members volunteering at either voter registration drives or working the polls. My dad often tells my kids the story of his granddad working to register voters- mainly farmers- and working the polls in upstate, rural South Carolina back in the 1930s and 1940s.

      1. Doug Ross

        How will democracy survive without anonymous trolls who are only brave in private?

        I’m voting for Joe Cunningham. He’s a better choice than McMaster.

        See, it’s not difficult to be an adult.

        1. Barry

          BTW- Joe has ZERO chance. Wasting a vote on him is a waste of time.

          and yesterday the SC Elections website crashed. That’s not an accident.

  4. Barry

    I read Conservative Rich Lowry’s glowing piece in Politico of election denier Kari Lake of Arizona. I think it was originally published in the Conservative National Review.

    Lowry describes Lake as a big GOP star and likely Republican VP candidate for Donald Trump in 2024.

    Lake has denied the results of the 2020 election and spread some really outlandish conspiracy theories about the election that even Arizona’s Republican Governor has said is not remotely true.

    Lake has accused Democratic and Republican officials in the state of cheating, illegally destroying ballots, using voting equipment illegally, and taking voters for Trump and counting them for Biden. She has never produced any evidence of such – and Republican election officials in the largest county in Arizona have repeatedly said what she has accused them of is impossible given the repeated counts, including hand recounts that were conducted- as well as the fact that poll watchers from Republican and Democratic camps have sworn under oath did not occur.

    She is also likely to win. Big Republican/Conservative star indeed.

    1. Doug Ross

      Democrats shot themselves in the foot and head by first voting for an empty suit for President and then doubling down on calling everyone in the other party racists, misogynists, Nazis, etc. Just like Hillary did in 2016, they blew it. Spent two years talking about Trump, breathlessly waiting for his perp walk . Turning every anonymous anecdote into a national issue.. and forgetting to lead from the front.

      Meanwhile, quintessential politician Joe Biden waited until the midterms got close to try and throw a bone to the student loan debtors and pushed out a toothless marijuana order that actually did nothing. And his press secretary gets out there every day covering for Bidens nearly daily stumbles verbally and mentally.. and actually tries to tell us the economy is doing great!

      Sorry, Joe, but you stooper even lower than the low bar I had for you.

      1. Barry

        To correct Doug….

        Biden actually did very little of speaking about Trump and his administration virtually ignored him for well over a year. So Doug is simply incorrect there.

        Good article on that here https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-trump-ignore/2021/02/21/024c2212-723c-11eb-a4eb-44012a612cf9_story.html

        Then after about a year, the Biden team realized it wasn’t really working


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