Around the South for Feb. 3: KY, AR & SC

Kentucky: McConnell vs. Cruz. “One of McConnell’s greatest challenges in this Congress is whether he can bring the obstreperous [US Sen. Ted] Cruz under control,” wrote Elizabeth Drew in the New York Review of Books. That’s already in doubt, with Cruz saying last week that the views of Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, on presidential authority are “profoundly dangerous,” reports Roll Call. Cruz also said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shouldn’t even bring her nomination to the floor for a vote. “That is a decision the majority leader is going to have to make,” putting McConnell between a rock and a hard place ……. Arkansas: Drinkin’, cussin’ and queerin’.  Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), a likely 2016 presidential contender, drew national media attention when he compared homosexuality to bad habits, like drinking alcohol and foul language. He said he has gay friends, as well as friends who drink alcoholic beverages and use profanity, choices he would not make for himself, reports Raleigh’s News & Observer. A former Baptist minister, Huckabee has strong support among evangelical Christians ……. South Carolina: Haley wants debts paid. Responding to a report by the state inspector general that more than $1 billion in fees, fines, taxes and tuition are owed the state, Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has ordered state agencies, including colleges and universities, to use all the methods available to them to collect the debts, reports the Rock Hill Herald. Haley told cabinet officers to enroll in debt collection classes offered by the Department of Revenue …….