Columbia, SC — VOTERS GO to the polls today to decide the major-party nominees for both of South Carolina’s U.S. Senate seats, congressional races, education superintendent, lieutenant governor, state treasurer and agriculture commissioner and scores of legislative and county offices. They’ll also pick the next adjutant general, since no Democrat is seeking the seat.
Here’s a brief review of our editorial board’s endorsements:
U.S. Senate. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham understands what most of us understand in our daily lives but sometimes forget when it comes to politics: Unless you have all the power, you have to work with others in order to accomplish anything. That means you to have to talk to them. And you have to give something up. The no-compromise approach embraced by his opponents is suicidal, to a nation, and to a party. Ours is a nation made up of some people on each extreme and mostly people in the broad center, who have to push aside their differences and work together in order to preserve its greatness. People like Lindsey Graham. He represents all of us, and he represents our nation, indivisible.
U.S. Senate. Unlike his opponent in the Democratic primary, Sen. Brad Hutto is not a felon, and he has a public record, having served respectably as an outspoken (which is to say high-profile) member of the Legislature for nearly two decades. The examination needn’t go any further. If Sen. Graham is on the ballot any Democrat will be a significant long shot in November. The difference is that Mr. Hutto would be a respectable candidate; his opponent would be yet another embarrassment to his party — and to our state.
Education superintendent. Republican Molly Spearman is not an angry candidate. She’s not someone with an ideological ax to grind. She’s a well-qualified administrator with a deep background in public education and public policy. She sees where we need to transform public education and where we need to tweak it, and she is ready to claim the best ideas from across the political spectrum and then build the public support to make them happen.
Education superintendent. Montrio Belton is not a typical Democrat. But typical Democrats haven’t had a lot of luck in South Carolina in recent years. While he is much more open to experimentation with public-school choice and empowering principals and more closely examining how our state spends money on schools, his basic values and beliefs fit very comfortably within his party.
Adjutant general. Republican Bob Livingston rose through the ranks to major general in 2009, and in 2007 he led the state’s largest combat force since World War II on a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. Since 2011, he has quite ably commanded the 9,000 members of our Army and Air National Guard. His opponent is only a lieutenant colonel, and not even in the National Guard; he’s in the Army Reserves. That means his only chance of being a general is to live in the one state where the adjutant general is elected. Voters should pick the actual general.
Lieutenant governor. The job of a lieutenant governor is to take over if the governor is unable to finish her term. Republican former Attorney General Henry McMaster is well-qualified to do that: He has an impressive record of bringing people together to work collaboratively to solve difficult problems, has shown admirable political courage, exudes an infectious optimism about our state’s potential and has demonstrated the ability to work well with the Legislature.
Richland County treasurer. There is no reason voters should have to elect this administrative position, which has no role in setting public policy. But we must, and incumbent David Adams has been dutiful in overseeing annual tax collections. While his opponent in the Democratic primary might make a good public servant, he has no experience running such an office and offers nothing to suggest he would do a better job.
You can read our full endorsements at thestate.com/endorsements.