State Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, has no plans to resign from office as long as he keeps a serious and sometimes fatal skin cancer at bay, he told The State Monday.
But if Courson resigns – the senator recently was indicted on public corruption charges – one GOP lawmaker with deep roots in Columbia and a powerful political name won’t be eligible to run for the District 20 Senate seat, which spans from Dutch Fork and Irmo in the west to central Columbia, picking up the University of South Carolina, Rosewood and Shandon neighborhoods.
Republican state Rep. Kirkman Finlay lives just outside of Courson’s district in Democrat state Sen. Darrell Jackson’s District 21.
Finlay lives in a triangle of land between Garners Ferry Road, Fort Jackson Boulevard and Interstate 77. Courson’s district jumps over Finlay’s property and resumes to the east of the interstate.
"It's odd, but there it is,” said the wealthy farmer and restauranteur, who was not in office when the district lines were drawn and, as a result, had no control over them.
Courson said Monday that he asked staffers working on drawing new district lines to include Finlay’s property in his district. He said he was told Finlay, a former city councilman whose father was Columbia mayor, could not be included in District 20 because it would split a U.S. Census tract.
However, the existing boundary between Courson and Jackson’s districts already splits the Census tract where Finlay lives, according to The State’s review of Census maps. Asked about the split, Courson said he did not see a map of the Census tracts during the redistricting process.
Finlay said he is happy being in Jackson’s district. He also said he has no plans to seek another office.
"I'm very comfortable in the House. I like the House. I enjoy it. It's been fun,” Finlay said. “The House is so much more action filled.”