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politics

  • State lawmakers will convene next month to consider plans to re-shape state House and Senate districts for the next decade. Preliminary maps using new population data from the 2020 Census indicate that most incumbent legislators will have districts to their liking, and that Republicans will maintain their commanding majorities in both bodies.
  • A national organization dedicated to electing progressive Black women at all levels has given its backing to state Sen. Mia McLeod in the South Carolina governor's race. Higher Heights for America on Monday called the Democratic candidate “a fierce advocate for jobs, economic and workforce development.” That organization had given its backing to now-Vice President Kamala Harris in her 2020 presidential campaign. It also provided significant support during the 2018 midterm elections to candidates who helped usher in the most diverse Congress in history. McLeod was elected to South Carolina’s House in 2010 and the Senate in 2016. She faces other Democrats in next June's gubernatorial primary.
  • U.S. Rep. Tom Rice says that he hopes his vote this year to impeach President Donald Trump won't be enough to overshadow his other accomplishments as he seeks a sixth term. The Myrtle Beach Republican told The Associated Press this week that he stands by his vote in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot. Rice was one of only 10 House Republicans to support impeachment earlier this year. He was censured by the state Republican Party but says many constituents have thanked him for his vote. A dozen Republicans are seeking to challenge Rice in next summer's primary in South Carolina's 7th District.
  • South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman says she won't run for a third term. Spearman said Wednesday after 40 years of service as a teacher, lawmaker and education official she wants to devote more time to her family. The 67-year-old superintendent says she plans to keep working to get education out of problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and advocate for students and teachers until her replacement is sworn into office in January 2023. A Republican, Spearman often clashed with lawmakers and others in her party. But she also pushed them toward her key issues — raising teacher pay and their morale, improving education standards, replacing school buses and helping smaller districts get more state support.
  • South Carolina's oldest and most powerful state lawmaker is currently receiving hospice care after the discovery of what colleagues describe as an inoperable cancer. A GOP senator told The Associated Press on Thursday that Hugh Leatherman's staff notified a handful of lawmakers the 90-year-old Florence Republican was recently hospitalized after experiencing severe abdominal pain. Leatherman was first elected to the chamber in 1980 and serves as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, which has sway over the state's budget.
  • U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and Gov. Henry McMaster have endorsed each other in their Republican primary races for 2022. And Scott will be a special guest at a fundraiser for McMaster's reelection campaign next month. McMaster has yet to draw a primary opponent with significant fundraising, though Greenville businessman John Warren — who largely self-funded his campaign and forced McMaster into a runoff in 2018 — hasn't ruled out trying again. Scott is the Senate's only Black Republican and says this will be his last Senate campaign. He's being mentioned as a possible contender for president in 2024, and is already traveling to early-voting states.
  • Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has accepted a lifetime appointment to the Board of Trustees of Clemson University, her alma mater. Haley graduated from Clemson with an accounting degree in 1994. The board position announced Tuesday comes as Haley ponders her next political steps. She remains among Republicans often mentioned as potential candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. She has been making the rounds through early-voting states and other GOP-friendly events, including a recent speech at the Reagan Library. But Haley has committed to sitting it out for 2024 if former President Donald Trump seeks a second term.
  • The South Carolina House will take online testimony this week about redistricting as it appears the General Assembly won't take up the new maps for U.S. House and state Senate and House districts for several months.
  • On this edition of the South Carolina Lede for September 25, 2021, we look at the redistricting process with Lynn Teague, vice president of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina. Also on this episode: an update on COVID-19 vaccine boosters; state economists break down the massive tax revenue hauls hitting state coffers; and testimonies from medical experts at this week's state Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee hearings.
  • South Carolina senators plan to return to the Statehouse next month for a special session on spending federal COVID-19 relief money and redistricting.