In a perfect example of the ancient Chinese curse (“Beware of what you wish for, you just may get it”), S.C. Rep. John Graham Altman III announced last week that he would not seek reelection to state House Seat 119.
Instead, citing the incessant commutes to Columbia (The Eye will give him that one), hotels, political infighting among GOP’ers and the governor’s office, and the evil empire of the South Carolina Democrats, Altman has decided to run for the Charleston County School Board.
Lucky us, mused The Eye.
For those out of the loop, The Eye’s favorite Neanderthal cut his political teeth during a previous controversial 20-year tenure on the CCSB — four of which he spent as board chairman.
Altman says his daughter, a Charleston County schoolteacher, suggested that he return to the CCSB, and he was impressed by former state Sen. Arthur Ravenel’s decision to return to the electoral fray as a candidate for the board.
Altman said in announcing his retirement, “If there’s ever going to be a time to improve our public schools, now is that time … I think the real focus needs to be on our sorry school system.”
The Eye will point out that Altman can’t be held responsible for “our sorry school system” during his first 20 years on the board as he was busy focusing on trouble with the local constabulary, imbibing frequently, getting married multiple times, and swimming in the hot water of the SC Bar Association.
Word on the street is that Altman didn’t feel like dealing with a primary fight for his S.C. House seat or running against a Democrat whose sexual orientation couldn’t be used to provoke the less-than-generous sensibilities of voters.
The Eye discounts these rumors, as Altman has never been one to back down from confrontation, and the upcoming school board election looks to be much nastier than any of the Statehouse contests.
The school board contest in November has a rather crowded cast of candidates already, and Altman would be forced to face off against boardmember Sandi Engelman, a political ally.
Last Monday Engelman said, “I don’t think he’s going to run.”
Engelman is part of Ravenel’s slate of “A-Team” candidates. The “A” stands for accountability.
The Eye will be glad when that term gets replaced in the political lexicon, since it’s lost all meaning.
Anyhoo, Ravenel told The Post and Courier after last Monday’s board meeting that, “We’ve pretty much rounded out our A-Team, but that’s not to say I’d discourage him from running … anyone can run and he’s an old friend.”
Well Cousin Arthur, what are you saying, wondered The Eye?
The Eye suspects that some shenanigans will happen in the General Assembly this session in which single member districts or a wholesale redistribution of districts arises that directly benefits GOP candidates in the nonpartisan races.
Should this happen, it would be possible that political bedfellows would not have to run against each other.
This way Altman could ostensibly return to his roots of playing the race card in order to win.
Good thing he wants to be there for the children, noted The Eye.
The Eye is probably the only one who wants Altman to run for school board — he’s always good for material during a slow news week. Love Best of Charleston? Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.
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