One of the more competitive races in the June 22 primary is state Rep. Tim Scott and Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond.

Scott had a very strong showing in the Lowcountry, but Thurmond actually took more votes in Georgetown and Horry counties. Why? Federal spending.

We’re not talking about federal spending for the wasteful bridge-to-nowhere; we’re talking about the federal spending for the life saving, job creating, road to Myrtle Beach. The area is desperate for federal funding for the Interstate 73 project.

Scott has said he will not make an earmark request for that money, but it likely may be the only opportunity to get the project going in the next five years. Scott is taking a principled stand not to get on the field and fight for those dollars.

The fact is, until nobody gets earmarks, everybody else is going to be fighting for earmarks. Instead of the money coming to Interstate 73 in South Carolina, it’ll go to I-69 in Texas or I-49 in Louisiana or I-94 in Wisconsin or I-55 in Missouri or I-540 in Arkansas — all of these projects were included in earmark requests in the 2010 budget.