The Buzz

The Buzz: Who SC elected officials support for president

TOP ROW (l to r) Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich. BOTTOM ROW (l to r) Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee
TOP ROW (l to r) Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich. BOTTOM ROW (l to r) Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee

As the 2016 race for the White House heats up and South Carolina’s February presidential primaries approach, candidates are boasting endorsements from S.C. Republicans and Democrats, touting support from former governors, statewide office holders, ambassadors, veterans and more.

The Buzz asked the campaigns which current S.C. elected officials – in Congress, statewide offices or the General Assembly – have their backs.

Here’s what the campaigns that responded had to say:

Republican endorsements

▪  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – State Sens. Katrina Shealy of Lexington and Paul Thurmond of Charleston; state Reps. Bruce Bannister of Greenville, the House majority leader, and Samuel Rivers of Berkeley and Ralph Norman of York

▪  Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson – Pooh-poohs “contrived endorsements,” according to S.C. director Ruth Sherlock. “We’ve been building a movement of millions of believers across the country and thousands right here in South Carolina.”

▪  U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – State Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, and state Reps. Mike Burns of Greenville, Bill Chumley of Spartanburg, Wendy Nanney of Greenville and Garry Smith of Greenville

▪  Ohio Gov. John Kasich State Sens. Paul Campbell of Berkeley, Ray Cleary of Georgetown and Greg Gregory of Lancaster, and state Reps. Jeff Bradley of Beaufort, Gary Clary of Pickens, Heather Crawford of Horry and Chip Limehouse of Charleston

▪  Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina – State Reps. Donna Hicks of Spartanburg and Phyllis Henderson of Greenville

▪  Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee – State Reps. Greg Delleney of Chester and Dennis Moss of Cherokee

▪  U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky – U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land; State . Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and state Reps. Peter McCoy of Charleston and Mike Pitts of Laurens

▪  U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg; state Reps. Todd Atwater of Lexington, Nathan Ballentine of Richland, Neal Collins of Pickens and Dan Hamilton of Greenville

▪  New York billionaire Donald Trump – State Rep. Jim Merrill of Berkeley is Trump’s state director. The campaign also has announced the support of Rep. Mike Ryhal of Horry. However, Trump communications director Hope Hicks said, “If endorsements mattered, Jeb Bush would be in first place.”

Democratic endorsements

▪  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – State Sens. Karl Allen of Greenville, Creighton Coleman of Fairfield, Brad Hutto of Orangeburg, Darrell Jackson of Richland, Kevin Johnson of Clarendon, John Matthews of Orangeburg, Margie Bright Matthews of Colleton and John Scott of Richland; state Reps. Carl Anderson of Georgetown, Jimmy Bales of Richland, Justin Bamberg of Bamberg, Bill Clyburn of Aiken, Chandra Dillard of Greenville, Jerry Govan of Orangeburg, Leon Howard of Richland, Joseph Jefferson of Berkeley, John King of York, David Mack of Charleston, Harold Mitchell of Spartanburg, Mia McLeod of Richland, Walt McLeod of Newberry, Mandy Powers Norrell of Lancaster and James Smith of Richland

▪  Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw

▪  U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders – State Reps. Terry Alexander of Florence, Wendell Gilliard of Charleston and Robert Williams of Darlington

Buzz bites

▪  Loveday heading to private sector. After five years in S.C. Democratic politics, Amanda Loveday is heading to the private sector. Loveday recently stepped down as U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn’s communications director to work for NP Strategy, a communications and consulting arm of the Columbia-based Nexsen Pruet law firm. Previously, Loveday was the S.C. Democratic Party’s executive director.

▪  The perils of the GOP’s State of the Union response. On C-SPAN Thursday, U.S. Rep. Mulvaney said it’s risky business delivering the Republican response to the president’s State of the Union address. That task falls Tuesday to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. “(U.S. Rep.) Cathy McMorris Rodgers (of Washington) did a real nice job a couple of years ago. … (Outgoing Louisiana Gov.) Bobby Jindal did an awful job,” Mulvaney said. “(U.S. Sen.) Marco Rubio took a glass of water, and we’re still talking about it three and four and five years later.” Asked if he’s worried for Haley, Mulvaney smiled and said, “The downside risks are a lot higher than the upside, but I think she’ll do fine.”

2016 in S.C.

▪  Presidential hopefuls to debate in S.C. Qualifying Republican presidential candidates will debate Thursday at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Fox Business Network is hosting.

On Saturday, preceding the Democratic presidential debate next Sunday, all four Democratic presidential hopefuls will speak at the First in the South Dinner in Charleston.

▪  Republican visits:

Cruz – Rally at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Gatherings at Dorchester with former S.C. Attorney General Charlie Condon; Friday, take part in the Conservative Leadership Project’s presidential forum with S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson at the University of South Carolina’s Alumni Center at 3:45 p.m. and, later, hold a rally at North Greenville University at 7:45 p.m.; Saturday at 10:30 a.m., take part in a national security forum with the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security’s S.C. chapter at Morningstar Fellowship Church in Fort Mill

Huckabee – Saturday, appear at the Watershed Pavilion in Chester at 4 p.m.

Kasich – Campaign meet-and-greet at the Cumberland Street Smokehouse in Charleston, Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Santorum – Conservative Leadership Project’s presidential forum with S.C. Attorney General Wilson at The Citadel, Thursday at 2 p.m.

Quote of the week

“The BEA (Board of Economic Advisors) dropped about $1.3 billion in the trough and yelled ‘Sooie!’ “

– Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, on Thursday, reacting to the added money state budget forecasters said lawmakers will have to spend this year