South Carolina: McMaster, Warren in runoff

South Carolina: McMaster, Warren in runoff

By Hastings Wyman – Gov. Henry McMaster (R), who succeeded to the governorship when President Trump appointed then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R) ambassador to the United Nations, failed to win a majority in the Republican Primary last week. McMaster had a plurality – 42% – but businessman and Marine veteran John Warren came in second with 28%, so the two will meet in a June 26 runoff. Attorney Catherine Templeton was third with 21%, followed by Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant in single digits. In raw numbers, McMaster received 155,072 votes to Warren’s 102,006. Templeton received 78,432. All the Republican candidates ran as Trump enthusiasts. McMaster is 71, Warren 39. The outcome “was a combination of Templeton’s attack, attack on Henry, and not looking in the rear-view mirror,” says Chip Felkel, a Greenville-based public affairs consultant. “Her media was terrible, it was erratic. There was an inference in her ads that the people in Columbia were snakes.” “It was more about John Warren catching fire at the right time,” says Chad Walldorf, former chairman of the South Carolina Board of Economic Development. “The big story is the rise of John Warren. He certainly came on strong in the last couple of weeks, and he took [Templeton’s] spot in the runoff.” Warren founded a highly successful specialty mortgage finance company. In any case, the results had to be a disappointment to Templeton, who had been crisscrossing the state for months wooing voters and raising money. In McMaster’s favor in the runoff, he had a 50,000-vote plus lead over Warren in the first primary. That’s a large number of additional votes for a...
Race, royals & politics

Race, royals & politics

By Hastings Wyman – The old saw that one should never discuss race, religion or politics in polite company took a major hit when Harry met Meghan. As a result, the latest royal wedding was a transformative event that has folks on both sides of the Atlantic talking about two, if not all three, of these conversational no-no’s. The major conclusion has been that the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson to a mixed race divorced American actress brought the monarchy into the modern age. But it did more than that. “British society, like American society, is fraught with stereotypes about race,” wrote Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize winning fashion editor of the Washington Post, who is African American. These stereotypes may have taken a serious hit at the wedding. When Meghan Markle, a woman of color, married into the royal family, the event sent a powerful signal that being “black” was no longer the barrier to social acceptance it has been for so long. If the Queen can sit in the beautiful St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle and listen to a lively gospel choir as well as a fiery sermon by The Most Rev. Michael Curry, the first African American to head the US Episcopal Church, complete with quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King, if Prince Charles can hold the hand of Doria Ragland, the weeping mother of the bride, whose hair beneath her hat was in dreadlocks –“a provocation in some quarters,” wrote Givhan – as they exited the church, then it becomes more difficult for folks on both sides of the Atlantic to hold on...
Oklahoma: Likely to stay Red

Oklahoma: Likely to stay Red

By Hastings Wyman – Republicans and Democrats in Oklahoma will go to the polls on June 26 to choose their candidates for governor. For the GOP, there is likely to be a runoff on August 28. That’s because there are six candidates seeking the Republican nomination, at least three of them with substantial support, so no candidate is expected to win a majority on the first vote. The Democrats have only two contenders. The two contests will be held against the backdrop of the widely perceived failure of the governorship of Mary Fallin (R), who is term-limited. Her early high favorables sank as the state’s services were seriously cut as her tax cuts took effect. Part of the problem was that oil prices fell to $26 a barrel, although Democrats cite the governor’s tax cuts as the major culprit. Now oil is more than $70 a barrel, and state revenues have been growing for the last six to nine months. Says Keith Gaddie, chairman of the political science department at the University of Oklahoma, state tax revenues “are rolling in, but too late to help” Fallin. “Mary Fallin’s numbers are just awful,” says The Sooner Poll’s Bill Shapard. However, the rising revenue may ease the pressure on the incoming governor. The top three Republican contenders are Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa mortgage company CEO Kevin Stitt. Says Chad Alexander, former chairman of the state Republican Party, “Right now it’s a three-person race,” among Stitt, Cornett or Lamb; “A runoff is certain.” The GOP race is “a wide open hot mess,” says Gaddie....
SC Republicans scramble to succeed Gowdy

SC Republicans scramble to succeed Gowdy

By Hastings Wyman – Trey Gowdy (R) has served in the US House since 2011. He currently serves as chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Gowdy has been a forceful, independent voice in the House, grilling Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi deaths and supporting allowing Robert Mueller to complete his Russia investigation. Given the likelihood that Gowdy’s successor will be a Republican, some 16 Republicans have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for this open seat; nine of them have raised at least some funds, as of March 31. “Chip” Felkel, a public policy consultant based in Greenville, describes the field of Republican candidates as “a collection of the different tribes within the party.” The primary will be on June 12; if no one receives a majority – as is unlikely with so many candidates – the runoff will be on June 26. The 4th District consists of Greenville and Spartanburg Counties and is a solidly Republican district. “The big difference between the top tier and the bottom tier is fundraising,” says Greenville County Republican Chairman Nate Leupp, citing William Timmons, Josh Kimbrel, Dan Hamilton and Lee Bright, in that order. State Sen. William Timmons, an attorney and businessman, defeated an incumbent in the 2016 primary. He borrowed $540,000 for this campaign. US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who Timmons supported for the GOP nomination in 2016, endorsed him last week. In thanking Rubio, Timmons said, “Marco, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott really represent the future of the national Republican Party.” Timmons may catch some flak over his involvement in a heated controversy over the sale of the...
Nixon, Reagan and Trump

Nixon, Reagan and Trump

By Hastings Wyman – Despite President Trump’s radical departure from the diplomatic norms of the last half century or so, there is one sense in which Trump is following in a tradition, albeit a Republican foreign policy tradition. Richard Nixon will long be remembered for his rapprochement with “Red” China. Working his Henry Kissinger, his National Security Advisor, Nixon substantially shifted the balance of power in the Cold War. In 1987, some fifteen years after Nixon’s China break-through, President Reagan, a more conservative GOPer than Nixon, denounced the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” much to the horror of liberal foreign policy experts at the time. Then he spoke before the Berlin Wall, and to his speechwriters’ dismay, ad libbed the now famous line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” With that line, wrote the Washington Post 40 years later, “the Great Communicator himself set [ting] the collapse of Soviet communism into motion.” Now comes Donald Trump. In recent months, Trump has dominated foreign policy with his ground-breaking efforts to remove the North Korean regime’s nuclear arsenal and its deliverability system of missiles capable of reaching the United States. Trump’s series of war-like threats to North Korea, his tightening of the economic screws on Kim Jong Un’s regime, and now his upcoming meeting with the North Korean dictator were all at Trump’s personal initiative. It doesn’t take a lifetime of serving in the State Department to see how this would benefit our country. Removing nuclear missiles from a hostile foreign power, missiles that could reach American cities, would certainly enhance this nation’s security. Moreover, as part of this effort,...