The 2020 election in South Carolina was the first presidential cycle in which the Republican consultative universe was not dominated by Richard Quinn – the former sponsor of the SCGOP.
Quinn and his empire were brought down by an influence-trafficking scandal that cost several state lawmakers their jobs – including their son, Rick Quinn.
The veteran strategist still faces charges related to this investigation, in fact …
Of course ProbeGate investigation – which had more twists than a Agatha Christie romance – flatter finish than the black-cut end of The Sopranos. The ending was even more disappointing, considering that many of the truly guilty parties escaped unpunished.
Leaving Quinn to take responsibility …
Although the Quinns continued to engage in selected disputes – including the Republican Party’s primary litigation for SC Senate District 33 (.pdf) in June – the collapse of their empire created a huge power vacuum in Palmetto’s policy that started to be filled in a patchwork quilt during the 2018 election cycle.
This year, however, we begin to see a new, more definitive order taking shape as several promising strategists – including some who started working with the Quinns – acted boldly to assert themselves.
One of them? Jon Parker …
Parker does not hide his time with “Quinndom”.
(Click to view)
“I am proud of that,” he told us.
Learning from the master seems to have had its benefits, as Parker’s three-person store – Innovative communication strategies – marked a couple of major upheavals in the South Carolina Senate as part of this year’s “red storm”.
This news medium has already written about the shocking defeat of the veteran SC senator Vincent Sheheen by the elected senator Penry Gustafson in the Senate District 27 of SC (.pdf), but the republican defeat in the state of Palmetto also saw businessman Billy Garrett defeat the incumbent democrat Floyd Nicholson in the District 10 Senate of SC (.pdf).
These victories are significant, potentially altering the camera’s ideological direction by giving Republicans votes only to overcome Democratic-led obstructionists.
Assuming they start acting like “Republicans …”
Which … it has been a problem.
Anyway, Parker and his two partners – Sarah Jane Walker and Sean Wise – dealt with both “twists and turns” of the Senate of SC. In the process, they lived up to their company’s nickname, developing “innovative communication strategies” for their customers. Among the most effective scams against Sheheen and Nicholson? Low-budget digital campaigns that criticized the two holders for accepting taxpayer spending “in the district” as part of a “personal secret fund”.
“I’m sick of career politicians profiting from their posts,” noted a text message to a Kershaw County voter. “Ask Vincent Sheheen: Where did the more than $ 150,000 in district tax dollars go?”
That is very effective messages …
“It was time for some accountability for that money,” said Walker.
Before coming to South Carolina, Walker participated in races in Texas. Meanwhile, Wise worked on campaigns from Colorado to Louisiana – and was briefly a consultant at the Quinn store (including a stint in the 2010 campaign for the liberal mayor of Columbia, SC Steve Benjamin)
Obviously, the “red storm” made many Republican consultants look like geniuses in 2020, but it’s important to note that Gustafson’s victory over Sheheen came as another vulnerable Democrat – Nikki Setzler – emerged victorious in his candidacy for the twelfth four-year term representing the Senate District 26 of SC (.pdf).
US President Donald Trump charged the Setzler district with 52.9 percent of the vote in 2016 – still the career politician prevailed by almost a margin of 10 percentage points, drawing 54.42 percent of the vote.
Setzler had a much more liberal vote record than Sheheen – and his staunch Republican opponent, a social conservative Chris Smith, received more support than Gustafson from the Republican establishment in his attempt to overthrow him.
Stay tuned for more stories in the coming days as we look at the various winners (and losers) of the 2020 election cycle in South Carolina.
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