With the DeMint Senate derby entering in its final stretch and an announcement coming soon, The Buzz breaks down the winners and losers:
Blurring party lines
New S.C. House Judiciary Committee chairman Greg Delleney has appointed state Rep. David Weeks to lead Judiciary’s criminal laws subcommittee.
This normally would not be Buzz-worthy. But Weeks, from Sumter, is a Democrat.
Leadership positions for Democrats in the S.C. House have been scarce since Republicans took control in the mid-’90s.
That was not always the case. Former state Rep. Joe Brown, D-Richland, was chairman of the Medical, Military and Municipal Affairs Committee in the late 1990s, under House Speaker David Wilkins, R-Greenville.
And, before he was speaker, Wilkins was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee even though Democrats ruled the House.
But given today’s partisan environment, it is rare to see Republicans appoint Democrats to anything.
“This is a sincere attempt on the part of leadership of the House to try to be more bipartisan,” Weeks said. “It is commendable.”
Delleney, from Chester, said he appointed Weeks because of his strong background as an attorney. Also, Delleney said Weeks was one of the first lawmakers to support his run for judiciary chairman.
“A well-respected person of great integrity,” Delleney said. “We needed somebody with experience as a lawyer and someone who knows criminal law, and he was the best person that I could come up with.”
Huh? Since when have lawmakers chosen someone because they were the best person for the job? If it becomes a trend, well ...
Courson ready for picture time
State Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, can relax now that he unanimously won re-election last week as Senate president pro tempore .
Courson was feeling extra relaxed last week when he told The Buzz he would be going back on some pain medication for his ailing back. “Tell Boyd Brown to come by the State House if he wants to get some good pictures of me,” Courson said.
That, of course, is a reference to the now-infamous campaign mailer paid for by the state Democratic Party earlier this year. It showed Courson sleeping on a couch in the Senate cloakroom, his feet propped up on a table. “Now, 28-year incumbent John Courson enjoys taxpayer-subsidized naptime,” the mailer said.
Courson said he was on pain medication at the time that made him drowsy.
The photo in the mailer was taken by former state Rep. Boyd Brown, a Fairfield Democrat who did not run for re-election.
Told of Courson’s comments, Brown told The Buzz: “Good for him. He must be on (medication) quite often, given the fact he sleeps as much as he does.”
Leave ’em laughing
Lexington County councilman Smokey Davis displayed his puckish humor a final time last week at a celebration marking his retirement from politics after 16 years in office.
Davis administered an oath to the 100 people in attendance, having them swear never to reveal “all the stupid questions and comments” Davis made while on public business. But Davis promptly absolved partiers of that pledge, calling it his way of getting the last laugh.
Davis will be succeeded Jan. 1 by Kent Collins, a Lexington lawyer.
Staff reporters Adam Beam and Tim Flach contributed.