MORNING BUZZ: Senate money raising numbers start rolling in

Posted by JAMIE SELF and ANDREW SHAIN on January 30, 2014 

On left: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. On right from top: Senate challengers Bill Conor, Richard Cash, Lee Bright, Nancy Mace

— Early birds in the race to oust U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, have reported their fundraising totals for the final quarter of 2013 ahead of Friday’s Federal Election Commission deadline.

Republican businessman Richard Cash of Easley raised about $76,200 from October through December and has $255,400 to spend after contributing about $200,000 of his own money to the campaign last year.

Jay Stamper, the only Democrat in the race, raised more than $14,000 in the quarter, mostly from Washington state, where he last lived and ran into some business and legal trouble. Stamper received two donations from South Carolina residents for the quarter.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct an error in Stamper's quarterly fundraising total.

Republican Nancy Mace hasn’t filed her report yet, but the Charleston PR executive and first female graduate of the Citadel announced in an email to supporters Wednesday that she has raised more than $400,000 since August when she entered the race.

Four Republicans, including Cash and Mace, are competing in June's primary against Graham’s $7 million of messaging might (not including the amount raised by a super PAC run that backs his causes).

Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor’s first fundraising report since entering the race in November is due this week.

State Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, told The Buzz this week fundraising has struggled without the support of national Tea Party and libertarian political groups that he's hoping will pour cash into backing a candidate to defeat Graham.

While he waits, Bright hopes to lure donations and volunteers with the chance to win an AR-15 military-style rifle.

In an email to supporters, Bright summed up his “number-one goal” in the gun giveaway with “one word. GROWTH. My hope is this AR-15 will help me get my message of liberty out to tens of thousands of pro-Second Amendment South Carolinians.”

The federal contribution reports also will reveal how much has been raised in South Carolina's other U.S. senate race this year.

Republican Tim Scott, a congressman from North Charleston appointed to fill the unexpired senate term of Sen. Jim DeMint in 2012, had nearly $3 million on hand as of Sept. 30.

The contribution reports due this week will be the first from the Scott's two Democratic challengers -- business consultant and former Obama campaign adviser Rick Wade or Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson.

Long road to allowing gay marriage in SC?

Overturning South Carolina's gay marriage ban could take years as federal lawsuits filed in several states work through the court system, The State's John Monk reports:

“We have a bunch of cases spread across the nation right now, and they are all pending at the trial court, except for ones in Utah and Colorado,” said University of South Carolina School of Law professor Derek Black.

Because of the time it takes to appeal cases – a process that involves writing briefs and possible oral arguments and more appeals – Black estimated it could be as late as 2017 before the lower federal court cases reach the U.S. Supreme Court for arguments or a decision.

The Utah and Oklahoma cases are now in the early stages of appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court, one step below the U.S. Supreme Court, has put the two cases on the fast track, meaning it might hear arguments and make a decision by the end of this year. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals handles cases in Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah.

Buzz Clicks

Not so transparent: South Carolina ranks 45th in the nation in disclosing online the subsidies and credits it gives to companies that locate or expand here. Full story

Cultivating a farm bill: The House passed a $100 billion annual farm bill on Wednesday that includes cuts in food stamps and preserves crop subsidies. The bill is expected to pass the Senate where it will go to President Barack Obama for his signature. Full story

How the S.C. delegation voted on the farm bill:

Yes - Clyburn, Rice and Wilson

No - Duncan, Gowdy, Mulvaney and Sanford

Mulvaney heads fight against immigration changesRep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, appears to lead a movement among GOP conservatives uninterested in an immigration overhaul being pushed by his party's leaders. “I think the willingness to go so far as specific legislation has cooled considerably for different reasons over the course of the last couple weeks,” he told The Hill ahead of a Republican retreat Thursday. How the farm bill compromise came together is part of the conservatives' concerns, Mulvaney said. Full story

School choice going nationwide?: Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, discussed his school vouchers plan with Fox News. Full story

The day after the State of the Union: A group of House Republicans pushing a resolution to bring legal action against President Barack Obama for overstepping his authority in executive orders held a news conference Wednesday. The STOP (Stop This Overreaching Presidency) resolution is sponsored by Rep. Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach. Full story

“I don’t know where Speaker Boehner is": Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized House Speaker John Boehner for not moving to create a joint congressional committee to investigate the 2012 attack of the consulate in Benghazi. Full story

Funeral for Herb Kirsh on Friday: Clover and South Carolina mourned Wednesday as word spread of the death of former state Rep. Herb Kirsh. His funeral is set for Friday. Full story

Boeing projections not flying so high: Boeing Co. ended 2013 with record revenue and profit, but its outlook for this year fell short of projections. This year, the company projected its commercial airplane deliveries of between 715 and 725, or 10 percent more than 2013. About 110 of those are expected to be 787s assembled in North Charleston and Everett, Wash. Full story

S.C. slips in charter school ranking: The Palmetto State slipped three spots to No. 15 out of 43 states for the quality of its charter school laws, mostly because other states took more aggressive steps forward, according to a report released this week by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Full story

Myrtle Beach chamber steps into trademark fight: Months after Myrtle Beach Hotels owner David Hucks complained to competitor Brittain Resort Management about the unauthorized use of his company’s trademarked name, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce filed a petition with the federal government to have Hucks’ trademark canceled. The chamber receives the bulk of its $36.6 million in revenues from public funds. Full story

Let's talk: With the state legislature shut down this week because of inclement weather, the Pickens County Legislative Delegation took the opportunity to address local leaders. Full story

New convention center for Greenville discussed: There’s no funding so far, and no site has been picked. But Greenville city and county officials say the idea of building a downtown convention center is being discussed. Greenville Mayor Knox White said he thinks a plan could emerge in 2016 or 2017. Full story

Snow day at the Mansion: Like thousands of parents across the state, Gov. Nikki Haley shared a little of her family's snow day on Facebook on Wednesday -- but some commenters raised questions about one of the shots. Full story

Gov. Nikki Haley's public schedule today

11:30 a.m.: Participate in a State Guard press conference at the State House

State House meetings today

Joint

1 p.m.: First Congressional District Delegation (Gressette Room 209)

Senate

1 p.m.: Finance Special Subcommittee to Review the Investment of State Retirement Funds (Gressette Room 105 / Agenda)

House

UPDATE: Meeting canceled: 2 p.m.: Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee (Blatt Room 305 / Agenda)

UPDATE: Meeting canceled: 2 p.m.: Ways and Means Public Education and Special Schools Subcommittee (Blatt Room 521 / Agenda)

(Note: Meeting times, days and locations are subject to change.)

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