SC political briefs

January 17, 2013 

Ex-Gov. Sanford done apologizing, ready to run

Former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, whose political career was derailed four years ago because of his affair with an Argentine woman, is attempting an improbable comeback.

Once mentioned as a potential 2012 GOP presidential contender, the 52-year-old Republican announced Wednesday he will run for his old congressional seat in his home district along the S.C. coast. Sanford, a penny-pinching conservative long before the Tea Party movement, said he is done apologizing for the affair and wants to restore “fiscal sanity” to Washington. He thinks voters are ready to give him another shot in office.

“What they are most focused on is not the fact I have made a mistake and apologized,” Sanford said. “What they are focused on is their pocketbook and their wallet.”

Sanford represented the 1st District for three terms in the 1990s. The seat became vacant recently when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to fill the unexpired Senate term of Jim DeMint, who resigned.

Official filing for the race doesn’t open until Friday. The primary is March 19.

Haley, another Tea Party favorite, said Wednesday that she wasn’t surprised Sanford, her onetime mentor, was getting back into politics. “He is someone who is very involved in policy and has always loved politics. This is going back home for him, his old congressional seat.”

Probation and parole agency seeks more agents

South Carolina’s probation and parole agency has succeeded in cutting down the number of people who return to prison, but the department needs more money to fund agents and continue that progress, its director told state lawmakers Wednesday.

Probation, Pardon and Parole Services director Kela Thomas said last year that the state’s prisons agency saved more than $1 million because 535 people under her department’s supervision didn’t end up returning to prison.

Officials say the 2010 sentencing reform law is helping cut down on the number of nonviolent offenders in the state’s prisons, but the parole agents that oversee them are overwhelmed with one of the highest caseloads in the country.

Currently, each parole agent has an average of 93 cases, Thomas said Wednesday. That ratio was 1 to 59 more than a decade ago and, ideally, should be no higher than 1 to 75. In her executive budget, Gov. Nikki Haley has recommended legislators pay for an additional 25 parole agents.

DMV late in getting out registration stickers

About 33,000 S.C. motorists who renewed their vehicle registrations on Dec. 22 or later are still waiting for registration stickers for their license plates.

Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Beth Parks said a vendor from Connecticut was late in delivering the materials needed to make the new stickers. She said the department is working to get the stickers out.

There’s a 30-day grace period for renewal. Parks said if the stickers are not in by then, law enforcement will be notified so motorists won’t get tickets.

Federal government ordered to pay SC $54,000

South Carolina can recover about $54,000 of its $3.5 million costs for a lawsuit defending the state’s voter identification law. A court on Wednesday ordered the federal government to pay the state for that amount of its legal expenses.

From Staff and Wire Reports

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