Former S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is not ruling out a third-party run for governor next year.
“I’m hearing more and more people say they are fed up with the two-party system,” the former Republican officeholder told The Buzz. “And they have asked me about running.”
Asked if a third-party run would end up siphoning enough votes away from Republican Gov. Nikki Haley to give the race to Democrat state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Bauer shot back: “You don’t think a third-party candidate (can) win?”
Bauer, 44, has not set a date for deciding whether to enter the race for the mansion.
Since losing a GOP primary runoff for the new Myrtle Beach-based congressional seat last year, Bauer said he became co-owner of the Myrtle Beach Speedway, bought a farm along the Intracoastal Waterway, purchased a strip shopping center, run a furniture store and restored houses.
He also has volunteered at a charter high school called the Palmetto Academy for Learning Motorsports. Students helped field a stock car for Bauer during the race season this year. (Insert joke here about Bauer’s infamous lead foot.)
“I tell people I got out politics for health reasons. The voters were sick of me,” Bauer joked. “Smartest thing for me would be to help fund someone else to run.”
Still, Bauer said he has been getting calls recently from people who want to run with him in a de-facto governor-lieutenant governor ticket in 2014. “I’m intrigued by it.”
When Strom met Nelson
As Congress began weighing impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal in late September 1998, South African President Nelson Mandela received the Congressional Gold Medal, bringing a respite to the political tension.
But Mandela was not the only diversion. South Carolina’s venerable U.S. senator, Strom Thurmond, brought added levity to the Gold Medal ceremony at the Capitol, according to news reports.
From The New York Times: “The ceremony included a beaming, unscripted intrusion by Strom Thurmond, the Senate ancient who arrived here more than four decades ago as a segregationist Democrat and survives as a 95-year-old integrationist Republican. He toddled forward and held up Mr. Mandela’s hand, as if the destroyer of apartheid was the greater champ in the planet’s crusade against racism.”
There were no reports of Thurmond’s reasoning for raising Mandela’s arm.
S.C. pastors meeting another presidential hopeful
Some S.C. pastors are heading to Arkansas next week for a political-tinged gathering of evangelicals headlined by Mike Huckabee, a Republican who reportedly is mulling a 2016 presidential run.
The event is sponsored by the American Renewal Project, the same group that brought U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to Columbia last month.
Huckabee, a former pastor and Arkansas governor who ran for The White House in 2008, is ending his nationally syndicated radio talk show Thursday -- the same day that he will to speak at the Renewal Project’s "Pastors and Pews" event in Little Rock.
"This is the first time I have seen Mike Huckabee this aggressive (about a political bid) in five years," project founder David Lane said. "From where I sit, it looks like he’s running."
Pastor Brad Adkins of Powdersville First Baptist Church in Easley is among the S.C. clergy expected to meet privately with Huckabee along with pastors from another early-presidential primary state, Iowa.
"I’d like to hear what he has to say," said Adkins, former president of the S.C. Baptist Convention. "It seems like he would be a good candidate."
Adkins has not chosen a favorite for 2016, but he has liked the evangelical messages that he has heard from Cruz and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Adkins, Lane and then-S.C. Republican Party chairman Chad Connelly traveled to Israel with Paul in January.
"We have a lot more choices this time around," Adkins said.
Hitching a ride with Rick Perry
State Reps. Rita Allison, Derham Cole and Eddie Tallon -- all Spartanburg Republicans -- climbed into Rick Perry’s SUV after the Texas governor spoke at a luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Downtown Spartanburg during the Republican’s two-day Upstate swing.
Allison said the foursome talked about working together to fight unfunded federal mandates and the Affordable Care Act. She said she didn’t ask Perry whether he was running for president again in 2016 because “we figured he wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t interested.”
• Tige Watts said he is making a break from hardball politics with his new job as a public information officer for Richland County. Since starting Campaign Research and Strategy in 2002, Watts has helped elect Republicans and Democrats. Most recently, he worked against Columbia’s move to a strong-mayor form of government. After selling his interest in the firm to partner Nigel Mahaffey, Watts said he will distance himself from politics.
• Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell still is weighing whether to run next year or try for the presidency of his alma mater, the College of Charleston. The Charleston Republican plans to decide before Christmas, his campaign said.
• Economist Gloria Tinubu, a Democrat, announced Saturday that she will challenge Republican Rep. Tom Rice again in South Carolina's 7th congressional district next year. "You demonstrated we can win that district, and next year we will win that district," Tinubu said at the S.C. Democratic Women's Council's Fall Forum. The surprise 2012 primary winner received 41 percent of the vote in the general election versus Rice.
• Folks in politics need a shot of courage every once in awhile. But they usually don’t do it on campaign stops. Democratic gubernatorial challenger Vincent Sheheen, a state senator from Camden, tasted moonshine at a Hilton Head Island liquor store while on a small-business tour last week.
Staff writers Dawn Hinshaw and Adam Beam contributed.