Primary Election '08 

Everything but the kitchen sink-in-chief

Voters of various shades of blue and red will head to the polls June 10 to pick primary winners. While some races are merely warm ups for major bouts in November, there will be a few deciders where the general election is uncontested. We've summed up the key races and made our predictions, and we've provided a little levity for others (along with website or e-mail addresses when available). We've also noted decisive races where there's no general election opposition. With Senate and Congressional races on both Democrat and Republican ballots next week, everybody has a reason to vote. Just do it.


Democrats

U.S. Senate
Mike Cone
Bob Conley

Local Democrat Mike Cone and Myrtle Beach's Bob Conley are battling for a chance to run against GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham in November. Light (really light) advertising in the run-up to the primary has done little to dent Graham's multi-million dollar war chest. The winner is certain to campaign long and hard, but well, we hate to be the bearers of bad news ... So we found a BBC program hosted by Neil Edgeller with suggestions on how to give bad news:

• "I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you ..." is a common way to give bad news. Using just "I'm afraid" is a very simple way of introducing bad news.

• When you give someone bad news, it's common to say something positive as well. This helps to make things seem a little better than they are.

• "Unfortunately" is another way of giving bad news.
• "I'm really sorry but ..." is similar to "I'm afraid ...," but less formal.
• Using "sorry" at the end offers sympathy, as does speaking in a quiet and calm way.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.mjcone.com

www.bobconleyforsenate.com

U.S. 1st Congressional District
Ben Frasier
Linda Ketner

Democrat Linda Ketner, a management consultant for businesses and nonprofits, says voters in the 1st Congressional District are tired of the "same old same old." She says she'll be a true fiscal conservative, noting Republicans have ruined their credentials with that title. Ketner says the current economic troubles are going to make it difficult for U.S. troops to remain in Iraq, even if we wanted to stay. Instead, the larger world should share in the reconstruction of Iraq, particularly other countries with a large investment in Iraqi success, like India and Saudi Arabia. She'll also bring clean air industries to the district to replace lost jobs, including offering tax breaks and incentives for innovative, renewable energy solutions. Ketner would establish universal pre-kindergarten and a minimum requirement of literacy by the end of the third grade.

Our hunt for Ben Frasier: A staff member at the South Carolina Democratic Party provides a contact number for Ben Frasier. Knowing that he may be hard to find, we ask for a second number in case the first one doesn't work. "That's all we have," the staffer says. "He's not really ... you know." We phone the number, and a woman answers and tells us that Frasier isn't available. We ask for an alternate number, but she doesn't have one. "I don't know how to get in touch with him. But you can call back and leave a message on the answering machine." We do. No dice.

Prediction: You've got to campaign to win, and that's what Ketner has been doing. She'll still have a tall hill to climb in November, but she should win this one handily.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.lindaketner.com

click to enlarge Ford
  • Ford

Senate District 42
Robert Ford (i)
Dwayne Green

After 16 years in the state Senate, Robert Ford has consistently faced opposition in elections. This year, local attorney Dwayne Green is making the challenge. Ford is quick to note that he works well with Republican Senate leader Glenn McConnell on regional issues, but Ford is likely best known for issues he stands alone on. Green is appreciative of Ford's service (pointing out Ford's civil rights and domestic violence successes), but he says it's time for a new style in Columbia to get things done. Ford says his seniority is key in bringing state money and resources to the district. Green says Ford is focusing on isolated constituent concerns and has lost sight of major issues like business growth and education reform. Green has pledged that, if elected, he will continue Ford's maverick sponsorship of gay-rights legislation, including establishing hate crime laws and employment and housing protections, as well as expanded hospital visitation rights.

click to enlarge Green
  • Green

Prediction: Green isn't the only Democrat disappointed in Ford's brash style, but the state senator has been campaigning heavily and won't be easily bested. This one may be closer than most, but Ford's still got the edge.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.senatorford.net

www.greenforscsenate.com


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House District 111
Wendell Gilliard
Clay Middleton
Maurice Washington

With Floyd Breeland stepping down after 16 years in the House, three local community leaders are jockeying for the seat. City Councilman Wendell Gilliard is running on his years of community service, as is Maurice Washington, a former councilman and chair of the board of trustees at South Carolina State University. The two well-known names are beating back an energetic challenge from 26-year-old Clay Middleton, an Iraq War veteran and Congressional staffer for Jim Clyburn. Gilliard has been beloved in the community for service projects like Project: Cool Breeze, which provides air conditioning units for the needy. He says he's "already on the job." Middleton says the lessons he's learned as a congressional aid will translate easily to the just-as-contentious Statehouse. All of the candidates say education is their top priority and each would provide more resources and funding for teachers. Washington points to tutoring, career counseling, and other assistance he and SCSU have been able to provide at struggling Burke High.

Prediction: Months ago, this contest was Gilliard's to lose, but Middleton's union endorsements and the support of Breeland and Clyburn have made it clear this won't be a coronation for the city councilman. That said, all the energy and endorsements in the world are going to have a tough time beating back the name recognition Gilliard has in the community. Voters are used to voting for Gilliard and, to a lesser degree, Washington. Middleton will have to work until polls close to squeeze out a win.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.wendellgilliardforseat111.com

www.claymiddleton.com

click to enlarge Peterson-Hutto
  • Peterson-Hutto

House District 115
Anne Peterson-Hutto
Eugene Platt

After a slim 40-point loss in the general election in 2006, Democrat Eugene Platt is making another go of things. Unfortunately for him, he's not alone this time. James Island lawyer Anne Peterson-Hutto wants to be the Dem on the ticket, too. Peterson-Hutto wants to bring more money back to Charleston schools and provide more resources in the classroom. She wants a multi-jurisdictional response to growth and congestion concerns. And she sees a lot of potential for bridge-building in Columbia. "Education and the environment are issues that are important to all of us," she says. Platt says the state needs to implement stern limits on development and that the state's tax system should focus more on a progressive income tax than its current focus on sales and property taxes. "I've knocked on thousands of doors," he says. "No one has complained about being burdened with excess state income taxes." Platt wants a focus on neighborhood schools instead of magnet programs catering to the best and brightest.

click to enlarge Platt
  • Platt

Prediction: Platt's got some detractors, but this race will be about pulling supporters out to the polls. Platt may have a slight advantage unless Peterson-Hutto has done enough to motivate primary voters.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.huttoforhouse.com

www.voteplatt.com



REPUBLICANS

U.S. Senate
Lindsey Graham (i)
Buddy Witherspoon

$4,519,323.36 — That's the amount of money Lindsey Graham has on hand to beat back reelection opposition.
$5.99 — That's the price for a crown at Party City.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.lindseygraham.com

www.buddywitherspoon.com

click to enlarge Brown
  • Brown

1st Congressional District
Henry Brown (i)
Katherine Jenerette
Paul Norris


After eight years in Congress, the movement for change has brought Congressman Henry Brown two challengers from his own party. All the candidates say the energy crisis is the most important issue in the district. Brown supports oil exploration off the South Carolina coast. Norris says more oil isn't good enough and that he'd call for a complete energy policy review.

click to enlarge Jenerette
  • Jenerette

Jenerette, a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, says she'll lead the conservative argument against leaving Iraq in a mess. Brown and Norris both agree troops have to stay until the country is secure.

Brown says his service has always been about addressing constituent concerns and points to efforts to provide more resources for MUSC and the neighboring veterans hospital.

Both Norris and Jenerette are critical of Congressional Republicans, who they say didn't hold to principals of less government is more. "It's certainly time for Henry to pass the baton to somebody," Norris says.

Prediction: Brown will be tough to beat. While both challengers certainly show a passion for bringing change to the district, it's hard to imagine enough of a GOP revolt to unseat Brown.

click to enlarge Norris
  • Norris


Learn about the candidates at:

www.henrybrownforcongress.com

www.jenerette.org

www.paulnorrisforcongress.com



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Senate District 38
Mike Rose
Randy Scott (i)

When Sen. Randy Scott was arrested April 19 for allegedly driving under the influence, the story just dragged on. First video was released of Scott being difficult both at the scene and at the station (though one could argue whether he had a good reason to be sour). The case was dropped last week when the defense pointed out that about one minute of the video was inaudible. Scott claimed throughout that the arrest was a political stunt and that he was targeted. Here are a few tips we found on the internet on how to refuse a field sobriety test:

• Remain confident that you do have the right to refuse.
• Do not provoke the officer by aggressively asserting your rights.
• Disregard any attempts by the police officer to make you feel that you are not acting wisely by refusing the test.
• Do not answer questions about why you do not want to take the test. Tell the officer that you simply choose not to take the test.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.mikerose2008.com

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State House Dist. 117
Bill Crosby
Tim Scott
Wheeler Tillman

We've put each candidate's name into three internet nickname generators. Enjoy.

• NBA Nicknames: Bill "Lashes" Crosby, Tim "Napkin" Scott, and Wheeler "XCaliber" Tillman
• Mob Nicknames: Bill "Pants" Crosby, Tim "Dreamboat" Scott, and Wheeler "The Pipsqueak" Tillman
• Pirate Nicknames: Bill "The Squid" Crosby, Tim "Barnacle Britches" Scott, and Wheeler "Bananaboots" Tillman

Learn about the candidates at:

www.votetimscott.com

e-mail wheelerti@bellsouth.net

click to enlarge Bustos
  • Bustos
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State House Dist. 112
Joe Bustos
Mike Sottile

Stop your mourning, East Cooper. Worker-bee Rep. Ben Hagood may not be coming back to Columbia in January, but two more GOPers pledge to carry on his fight for regional growth planning. Mt. Pleasant Councilman Joe Bustos and Isle of Palms Mayor Mike Sottile say they're the guy. Bustos says his work on complicated budgets and capital projects will be an asset in Columbia, while Sottile says his status as municipal CEO is proof of the experience to lead.

click to enlarge Sottile
  • Sottile

Both support cutting taxes and immigration verification requirements for employers. Bustos points to a record of conservation in Mt. Pleasant. Sottile says regulations need to be practical and not hurt existing homeowners. "The state's first plan (regarding beach erosion) is to retreat," Sottile says. "A condo can't retreat."

Prediction: Math and geography alone point to a good showing for Bustos. Sottile has worked hard to introduce himself to Mt. Pleasant voters, but it'll likely come back to folks voting for the guy they're used to voting for.

Learn about the candidates at:

e-mail jmbustos@comcast.net

www.mikesottile.com

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9th Circuit Solicitor
Blair Jennings
Scarlett Wilson (i)

Wilson, the former chief deputy solicitor, was appointed last year after the death of Ralph Hoisington. Jennings was Hoisington's deputy solicitor in charge of Berkeley County before Wilson forced his resignation for what she considers insubordination. He says it was political.

Jennings says his experience running the Berkeley office and working seamlessly with local law enforcement has provided real results — he points to a record of 60 homicide convictions, including 15 life sentences and one death penalty case. Jennings would also increase prosecutions of repeat drug offenders and drug dealers.

Wilson says she's fought more battles in the courtroom and has proven her administrative chops since taking the solicitor's chair. She's targeting repeat offenders and cutting the office's backlog of cases.

Prediction: This is going to be a draw. Jennings has folksy local-boy charm. Wilson has a no-nonsense approach. Each could pull a different set of conservative voters.

Learn about the candidates at:

www.blairjennings.com

www.wilsonforsolicitor.com

Charleston County Coroner
Robert "Bubba" Dunlap
Rae Wooten (i)

With two candidates for this position, each claiming their experience makes them best suited for the job, we offer a few suggestions on how to make a choice:

• Darts (put a piece of string down the middle and throw a dart blindfolded)
• Dice (odd: Dunlap, even: Wooten)
• Cootie Catcher (two fortunes go for Dunlap, two for Wooten)

Learn about the candidates at:

www.bubbadunlap.com

www.wootenforcoroner08.com

Charleston County Council Dist. 6
Curtis Bostic (i)
Nancy Cook

Here's a quick look at the websites for Curtis Bostic and challenger Nancy Cook.

Curtis Bostic: He shakes hands — a lot of them. He shakes the hand of a bus driver. He shakes the hand of a police officer. There's even a photo of him in a council meeting with arm outstretched, seemingly pleading with someone, anyone to shake his hand. The most annoying thing about the site is what must be the most overused political campaign tool of 2008: Three. Words. Period.

Nancy Cook: Cook's website opens with a fancy Powerpoint (complete with Three. Words. Period.) But the promise of a fancy site is dashed with an opening letter of varying font sizes and indentions. The site has a registration line for updates (pro), then the news section only has two updates (con). Only two pictures (no hand shaking), but there are prominent images of the Lincoln Memorial (a fellow Republican) and the Statue of Liberty (a French woman).

Learn about the candidates at:

www.curtisbostic.com

www.cookforcountycouncil.com

Charleston County Council Dist. 7
Joey Douan
Mark Peper

Peper is the son of local TV anchorman Warren Peper. So, we asked each candidate to provide us with some lessons from their parents.

Douan: "Tell the truth and you won't have to remember what you said."
Peper: "When you're through improving, you're through."

Learn about the candidates at:

e-mail joeydouan@yahoo.com

www.peperforcouncil.com


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