The Buzz

The Buzz: Politicians a-Twitter in South Carolina

online@thestate.com

As Donald Trump has shown yet again, social media has changed the way politics works in the 21st century. At times, the GOP nominee’s campaign has seemed to run primarily on Twitter.

The digital age has opened new avenues for political actors to reach the public directly, including in South Carolina. Here are some of the more interesting S.C. political minds in the Twitterverse.

SC Legislator (@SCLegislator)

This one is a bit of a mystery. This anonymous account, maintained by someone affiliated with the S.C. Legislature, tweets an inside view of the goings-on at the State House along with some snide comments that might be best left unsigned by anyone with political aspirations.

For instance, on the primary runoff defeats of state Sens. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, and Mike Fair, R-Greenville, respectively, SC Legislator opined:

▪ It’s a dark day for those of us who have worked so hard for religion in science class, SC currency, bathroom monitors, & light bulb freedom.

▪ Mike Fair went down too, leaving SC children at risk to educators trying to slip science into our schools’ science classes.

The Buzz hasn’t been able to nail down SC Legislator’s secret identity, but tips are welcome at thebuzz@thestate.com.

Tyler Jones (@TylerMJones)

A prolific tweeter – with 34,000 or so tweets since 2009 – Jones can provide an insider’s view of the State House with a name attached. He is the senior adviser to the Democratic state Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, the minority leader in the S.C. House, and the former state director for Martin O’Malley’s aborted presidential campaign. His tweets can range from the State House to the presidential campaign and beyond.

Gary Clary (@garyclarysc)

Representative of a lot of his fellow House members, the Republican lawmaker from Central has a feed that can have a constituent services feel to it. But his subjects also stretch from politics to sports – especially if it involves Clemson. A straight-laced legislator, Clary’s worth the follow for some occasionally frank, outside-the-box thinking that can offer insight into the sausage-making process. He also makes the list because he tweets a lot – and we appreciate the retweets from @BuzzAtTheState.

Katrina Shealy (@KatrinaShealy)

The GOP senator from Lexington tweets what she thinks, whether it is wrangling with the media or a Facebook feud with her own Republican governor over the Department of Social Services. She regularly tweets from political events, including this summer’s Republican National Convention. But she also has featured more lighthearted fare, like the tweet highlighting her donkey Roads. (But she missed a chance to make a joke at the Democrats’ expense.)

Phil Bailey (@PhilBaileySC)

Bailey is the former political director of the S.C. Senate Democratic caucus, but is probably better known for talking about political movers and shakers outside the State House as half of the onetime Pub Politics webcast team with former GOP Senate operative Wesley Donehue.

His tweets can sometimes get Bailey into trouble. A 2012 tweet that referred to Gov. Nikki Haley as “Sikh Jesus” for trying to “resurrect an unlawful campaign” got him temporarily kicked off the medium by Senate leaders. “I don’t even know exactly what Twitter is,” state Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, told The State newspaper then, “but he’s not going to be doing it.”

High-schoolers named to new Teen Democrats’ state board

High school students hoping to get involved with the political process this year have a new option. The Teen Democrats have organized their first statewide chapter in South Carolina.

Five seniors were named to the inaugural executive board, just before they head back to school

“We plan to have one meeting before the end of the year, but we are communicating daily,” said Joshua Dantzler, a Rock Hill native and student at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, who was named the board’s chairman.

Dantzler attended a national meeting of the High School Democrats and was asked to take up the task of starting a S.C. organization.

“This was one of the states they’d like to form because they want to have more of a presence in red states,” Dantzler said.

Other teens on the board are: Quadri Bell of Manning High School, Malik Frazier of South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, Katie Hill of Carolina Forest High School in Myrtle Beach, and Lauren Xu of the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

Buzz bites

▪  Nikki Haley made a stop in Union Wednesday to promote a new jobless initiative but not at the town’s state employment office. Instead, the governor’s Original Six Foundation is partnering with Union’s Trinity Baptist Church to open the Meeting Place on Main, a new workforce readiness center that will be funded by the Original Six and staffed by local nonprofits. The private foundation spent $37,000 to renovate the church-owned building.

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