AS POPULAR as it is these days to praise the virtues of outsiders, of political novices, the fact is that there is always a huge danger in electing someone who has never been active in their communities or engaged in public life, much less held public office.
S.C. Democrats, of all people, should understand this, after their disastrous encounter with Alvin Greene, the unemployed Army veteran who defeated a respected retired judge in the 2010 primary to win the U.S. Senate nomination and went on to become a serious embarrassment to the party and a distant loser to Republican Jim DeMint.
The danger is even greater when the unknown outsider has a criminal record.
State Sen. Brad Hutto has neither of these problems. The Orangeburg attorney is not a felon, and he has served respectably as an outspoken (which is to say high-profile) member of the Legislature for nearly two decades.
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What that means is that while we could talk about how Mr. Hutto holds positions that are much closer to our state’s political center than his opponent in the June 10 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, or how Mr. Hutto has been quite effective at both stymieing and working with Republicans in the state Senate, we don’t need to.
We don’t need to examine Mr. Hutto’s political positions past or present or his campaign pledges for the future to know that he is the hands-down choice in the contest to take on U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the fall.
That’s because Mr. Hutto’s opponent, Columbia businessman Jay Stamper, is a stranger to the voters. And to our state. Not only has he never held or even run for public office or played any public role in the life of our state, he just moved to South Carolina last year, apparently for the purpose of running against Mr. Graham.
What we do know about Mr. Stamper is that he has a record of three felony pleas tied to an investment business that Nevada regulators shut down. The state Democratic Party chairman says that Mr. Stamper also has a record of redirecting websites of politicians he doesn’t like to white supremacy or cannibalism-support pages.
Assuming Mr. Graham captures the Republican nomination next month, whoever the Democrats nominate will be a significant long shot in November. The difference is that one of them would be a respectable candidate, and one would be yet another embarrassment to the Democratic Party — and to our state.
Voters in the Democratic primary can do themselves and our state a favor by nominating Brad Hutto.
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We asked the candidates for adjutant general to complete a questionnaire as part of our endorsement process. Read their answers and answers from candidates for other offices. And r ead our previous endorsements here.