Strom exits race for USC board seat

03/27/2014 11:16 PM

03/27/2014 11:17 PM

Former U.S. Attorney Pete Strom says he has dropped out of the race for a seat on the University of South Carolina board of trustees held by Columbia attorney William Hubbard, the school’s second-longest-tenured trustee.

Hubbard, president-elect of the American Bar Association, and Strom, who runs his own Columbia law practice, have been constant presences at the State House lobbying lawmakers for the seat that represents Richland and Kershaw counties.

“It was going to be a bloodbath,” Strom said. “In my judgment to beat him, I would have to publicly raise issues that would not be in the best interest of the university and make a lot of folks choose between two friends.”

Storm has said he was concerned that the state’s flagship school has moved away from educating South Carolinians. He wanted to tackle rising tuition rates and student safety concerns after recent violent crimes in the Five Points entertainment district near campus.

He also questioned the appropriateness of the USC board having three trustees, including Hubbard, who work for the Nelson Mullins law firm.

With Strom dropping out, all eight USC trustees up for re-election by the General Assembly next week are running unopposed.

Strom said some lawmakers and judges asked him to stay on the state’s Judicial Merit Selection Commission.

“Given the totality of circumstances, I decided it was best for all concerned for me to withdraw,” said Strom, who plans to run again in four years.

Hubbard has been on the USC board for 28 years, second only to Florence surgeon Eddie Floyd’s 32 years.

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