The Buzz

July 27, 2014

The Buzz: No alternate reality for Ravenel’s Senate campaign

South Carolina will not have a reality TV campaign, plus a look at the 2004 version of Thomas Ravenel and the congressman attracting 2016 presidential hopefuls

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

South Carolina will not have a reality TV campaign.

U.S. Senate petition candidate Thomas Ravenel told The Buzz that the second season of his “Southern Charm” reality show will not air until some time after the Nov. 4 election.

However, producers are following his longshot campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham – not a bad storyline for the Bravo show that takes a peek inside Charleston’s high society.

Bravo declined to disclose a debut date for Southern Charm’s upcoming season.

Still, The Buzz wonders if Lindsey officially will be added to the cast. The fellas need a new wingman with Ravenel bowing out for fatherhood.

Ravenel – the Reagan Republican?

You never know what’s in a dusty box in the office, but The Buzz stumbled upon a videotape last week that Ravenel used to introduce himself to voters in his 2004 GOP primary race for the U.S. Senate.

Some of Ravenel’s views have changed in the past decade, including a prison stint that cost him his seat as state treasurer.

For instance, in the 2004 primary, where he finished third, Ravenel backed then-President George W. Bush’s “bold leadership” in invading Iraq in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

“We need to stay the course in Iraq and bring stability to that region, which is the source of terrorism,” he says in the video.

Now, Ravenel says he favors a foreign policy based on restraint, contending American involvement in the Middle East only strengthens militants who might harm the United States.

But some of Ravenel’s views have remained the same – saying he favors limited government, lower taxes and fewer regulations – though he touts a name in the video not used in his latest run.

“I’m a Reagan Republican,” Ravenel says in the video. “ Ronald Reagan rescued this country from the malaise of the 1970s.”

After his references to The Gipper, Ravenel is shown riding a galloping horse through a field.

Mulvaney cooking up 2016 prospects

Is Mick Mulvaney holding a fundraising barbecue? If so, you might run into a 2016 GOP White House hopeful.

The Republican congressman from Indian Land is having U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky headline a barbecue fundraiser on Aug. 25 at the Magnolia Room in Rock Hill.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry came to Mulvaney’s July 2 hamburger-and-hot dog fundraiser in Indian Land.

Despite being a rising star on Capitol Hill – he has a shot at chairing a coalition of conservative congressmen known as the Republican Study Committee – Mulvaney is weighing a run for governor in 2018.

Before then, however, Mulvaney has a race this year against a Democratic challenger, Fort Mill town councilman Tom Adams.

Tickets to Mulvaney’s event featuring Paul cost $25 with sponsorships going for $1,000. Paul will be in York County on the same day as another 2016 Republican presidential prospect visits the Upstate.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will headline U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan’s “Faith & Freedom BBQ” fundraiser at the Anderson Civic Center.

The Buzz is waiting for word on who might have Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz around their grills next month.

The Ervin wire

Getting on the November ballot was not the only news gubernatorial petition candidate Tom Ervin made last week. Some other news:

•  A poll released last week found Ervin receiving 3 percent of the vote, a percentage point ahead of Libertarian Steve French. Ervin, a Greenville lawyer who owns three radio stations, has spent $1.5 million since entering the race in March – including $560,000 with Texas-based consultant John Weaver, a former strategist for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s presidential runs, according to campaign filings. French, who owns a used cooking oil recycling business, has spent $2,500.
•  Ervin declined to release income-tax returns from his wife, Greenville attorney Kathryn Williams. Ervin released his returns, but he and his wife file separately. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and Democrat state Sen. Vincent Sheheen file returns jointly with their spouses, which shows the total income of their families. But Ervin won’t release his wife’s returns. “We don’t see it as an accurate comparison,” Ervin campaign spokesman Christian Hertenstein said.
•  The Ervin campaign added a senior adviser who worked for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and ran Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign. Matt David was Schwarzenegger’s deputy chief of staff and communications director. He also worked in the last two GOP presidential primaries as deputy communications director for Sen. McCain in 2008 and campaign manager for Huntsman in 2012.

The Buzz has to ask: Could the Terminator be the Sarah Palin of the 2014 campaign, boosting a relatively unknown candidate?

McConnell cashes out

Former Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell gave the $260,238 remaining in his campaign account for lieutenant governor to tax-exempt groups as allowed by election law.

News of the giveaway was first reported by the Charleston Regional Business Journal. McConnell gave $110,000 to the foundation at College of Charleston, where he became president on July 1. (The foundation pays $112,000 of McConnell’s $300,000-a-year salary.) He also gave $5,000 each to the College of Charleston’s Cougar Club and Alumni Association.

McConnell’s church, the Church of The Holy Communion, received $40,000, while the foundation for his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, got $15,000.

McConnell also contributed to one of his passions, Civil War history. He gave $10,238 to the Civil War Trust and $10,000 to the The Citadel Foundation for the Civil War Society re-enactor fund.

Also, animal groups received $25,000. And, after leading the state Office on Aging as lieutenant governor, McConnell gave $10,000 to Sustaining Our Seniors of South Carolina, a group he helped start.

More donations could be coming. McConnell still has $157,871 in a campaign account from his days as a state senator.

Buzz Bites

•  Four Democrats are vying to succeed state Sen. Yancey McGill, who left his seat in June to become the state’s interim lieutenant governor. State Reps. Carl Anderson, a Georgetown minister, and Ronnie Saab, a Williamsburg attorney, along with attorneys Sam Floyd and Cezar McKnight will meet in a Sept. 2 special primary for the district that encompasses mainly Georgetown and Williamsburg counties. McKnight lost to McGill, the Senate’s sixth-most senior member, by just 81 votes in the 2012 Democratic primary. Floyd sits on the Williamsburg County Council. No Republicans filed for the Senate seat.
•  State Rep. Samuel Rivers Jr., R-Berkeley, was accused of using passages in a Post and Courier opinion column last week that were similar to those in a document on a Wyoming cattle group’s website. Rivers told The Columbia Journalism Review, which reported that half of the lawmakers’ column appeared to come from the other document, that “those are my words with the information that was provided to me.”
•  Want to know who is on the Yadkin/Pee Dee Commission or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board? The S.C. Secretary of State now has a searchable database of state boards and commissions appointed by the governor and General Assembly. The database can be used to search members of specific boards or names of board members. The database also can hunt for vacancies. (The state has 532 openings at the moment.) The database’s address is

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