You’ve done the reading, made up your mind about the candidates, but you get cold feet in the poll booth. Here’s the round up of all of our endorsements:
Governor: James Smith/Mandy Norrell
State Rep. James Smith is not the most exciting candidate we could ask for. Frankly, we’ve been pretty underwhelmed with his campaign, which has mostly flown under the radar despite the fact that Henry McMaster has never been elected to the job he looks poised to hold onto on Nov. 6. Smith may be on the right side of issues from health care to education to the environment, but except for a few times when he stood on the debate stage with a few canned zingers and wagged his finger at McMaster, you wouldn’t know it. But we can’t back McMaster, who has been a cheerleader for President Donald Trump since he was the first statewide elected official to endorse the reality TV star when he was still a protest candidate for angry Republicans. McMaster has responsibly helped the state prepare for possible natural disasters, a basic requirement of the job, but has turned away any attempt to make government run efficiently or effectively, even vetoing the long-overdue gas tax increase solely out of principle. Voters should once again opt against electing Henry McMaster as governor and cast their votes for James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell.
Attorney General: Constance Anastopoulo
In a terrifically ironic turn of fate, we’re excited to endorse an attorney who specializes in legal ethics against incumbent Attorney General Alan Wilson. Constance Anastopoulo is the only candidate in the race who has not had to recuse herself over conflicts of interest in the state’s long-running political corruption dragnet.
Secretary of State: None
Public servants deserve a chance to help make their policy visions a reality, but re-election is not automatic. And after 15 years in office, it’s time for a change in the Secretary of State’s office. We’re eager to see some creative efforts to help make the office more engaging and public-facing. But we can’t support Hammond’s re-election and find Whittenburg’s well-meaning platform too vague.
Treasurer: Rosalyn Glenn
We’re glad to see both Rosalyn Glenn and Sarah Work giving Treasurer Curtis Loftis his first-ever general election competition. Glenn recently got the support of former vice president Joe Biden, and in this case, if she’s good enough for Joe, she’s good enough for us.
Commission of Agriculture: Hugh Weathers
The agriculture industry, “agribusiness,” as the Department of Agriculture calls it, has seen 23 percent growth over the past 10 years and could soon have a $50 billion economic impact in South Carolina, making it one of the economic powerhouses for our state. Weathers will continue capable leadership if re-elected.
1st Congressional District: Joe Cunningham
Voters in the 1st Congressional District should elect Joe Cunningham. The highest-profile race in the state this Election Day is also the easiest for us to choose who should win. Even if she’s not being compared to Cunningham, freshman Republican state Rep. Katie Arrington’s caustic, partisan rhetoric should not be elevated to Congress. Republican primary voters rode incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford out on a rail in an attempt to install Arrington after he proved disloyal to President Donald Trump. Sanford may not have been perfect, but if nothing else, he was a free thinker. Cunningham is a Democrat, but will likely be moderated by having to be re-elected every 24 months.
6th Congressional District: Jim Clyburn
Democrats are poised to have a majority in the House, a move that could put Clyburn in a position to cap his career as Speaker of the House. Charleston and South Carolina would continue to wield influence in Congress if Clyburn is re-elected.
S.C. House District 110: Pogue
We agree with Ben Pogue that all South Carolinians deserve empathetic representation in Columbia and applaud Rep. Cogswell for supporting conservation issues. The incumbent is right, it is time to upend state government, but we’re a bit skeptical of Cogswell’s approach given some of the ultra-conservative members who have signed on with his proposal. The lack of substantive legislation put forward by Cogswell and the more than 420 votes he missed last session raise questions about the time he will dedicate to the office. Charleston and Mt. Pleasant voters should elect Ben Pogue.
S.C. House District 112: Sottile
We hope that newcomer Joe Preston continues to wade into the public arena, particularly on the local level where his command of the issues shows. As East Cooper continues to grow, we believe Sottile will continue to advocate capably for his coastal neighbors.
S.C. House District 114: Jones
West Ashley residents need a representative devoted to finding middle ground on complex issues, not fighting partisan battles. Voters should elect Dan Jones.
S.C. House District 94: None
S.C. House District 99: Gibson
If nothing else, we’re hoping that Jen Gibson’s energetic candidacy to represent a growing part of the Charleston area will inspire others to jump into the political world. Rep. Mace has taken some open-minded stances we agree with, particularly on opposing the plastic bag ban ban (remember that one?), but Gibson’s on-the-ground approach is how we want to see more politicians conduct themselves. We hope it’ll rub off when voters send her to Columbia.
S.C. House District 119: Stavrinakis
Stavrinakis has served voters west of the Ashley well for years, voters should send him back to Columbia.
S.C. House District 115: McCoy
We love Carol Tempel and applaud her years of work in the progressive community. She’s exactly right that the redistricting process is broken. But Rep. McCoy’s recent initiatives to address and resolve the V.C. Summer nuclear boondoggle with a sense of urgency and responsibility have put Charleston at the front of the fight against what sure looks like regulatory deception. Charleston-area voters should give Rep. Peter McCoy a chance to continue that work.
S.C. House District 15: J.A. Moore
We have never been encouraged by Rep. Rivers’ partisan conservative agenda, but we are impressed with the ideas J.A. Moore has put forward before taking office and support a vote to send him to Columbia.
S.C. House District 117: Krystle Simmons
By all accounts, Rep. Bill Crosby is liked in his district and has served his neighbors well as a public servant, but we can’t pass on a chance to send new, energetic leadership to Columbia. Krystle Simmons deserves a chance to shake things up.
Probate Court Endorsement: Irv Condon
We have doubts over whether judgeships should be popularly elected, and think they should at least be nonpartisan. We do not see any reason why Judge Irv Condon should be replaced.
Amendment 1: No We understand and appreciate the motivation for putting Amendment 1 to a vote and agree that it is likely well-intentioned. The state legislature has failed to effectively reform education for a generation, and this amendment would allow those same people to have control over the requirements for the job and be tasked with rubber stamping whoever the partisan governor (likely of the same political party) selects to fill the position. The current method of popularly electing the state superintendent isn’t perfect, but neither is this amendment.
Charleston County School Board
North Area: Cindy Bohn Coats
Coats’ experience shows with a breadth of knowledge about timely local issues that surpasses her opponents’. She will continue to be an energetic and assertive representative on the school board.
East Cooper (Two seats): Kate Darby, Jake Rambo
Jake Rambo has been the most outspoken education advocate in Charleston for more than a year. And while we don’t think it’s time to “Flip the Board,” as his allies say, we believe Rambo will bring a necessary fresh approach and a focused voice to the board. Charleston voters should re-elect Kate Darby and choose Jake Rambo to represent them on the school board.
West Area: Rev. Dr. Eric Mack
Rev. Dr. Eric Mack has an even command of the issues sitting before the school board at a potentially volatile time. West Ashley voters re-elect him on Nov. 6.