2012 S.C. Legislative Session Disappointing, Say Republicans
More than 60 percent of influential conservatives responding to our Red Palmetto survey said the session was not a success.
The S.C. legislative session wrapping up this month in Columbia was disappointing to most influential Republicans who took part in our Red Palmetto survey last week. But unlike in Washington, they don't blame Democrats.
More than 60 percent of respondents categorized the session as either "very disappointing" (28.6 percent) or "somewhat disappointing" (32.7 percent). Only 4.1 percent called it "very successful" and 30.6 percent deemed it "somewhat successful."
Ninety-seven conservatives from the Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston areas were asked using an automated survey tool what they thought of the work in the State House this year.
Forty-nine responses were collected.
Comments by survey-takers displayed the frustration:
"The 2012 session was status quo and clear illustration of the unwillingness to proactively address the real challenges we face here in the Palmetto state," one said.
"Let's make the process more efficient," said another.
"Weak goals and direction," said one.
"The General Assembly does not walk the talk," said another.
One simply summed up the session with one word: "Gridlock"
Respondents who answered "very disappointing," "somewhat disappointing" and "somewhat successful" were asked who was responsible for the lack of success between Republicans in general, Republican leadership, Democrats in general, Democratic leadership, Gov. Nikki Haley and all of the above.
Both houses, as well as the governor's office, are controlled by Republicans.
More than 40 percent said they blame all of the above. Republican leadership was blamed by more than 25 percent. And Haley was the only other respondent in double-figures with 11.6 percent.
Influential conservatives who responded to this week's survey estimated their fellow Republicans thought more positively about the session. Only 41.7 percent said "fellow Republican" would characterize the sesison as a disappointing. And 39.6 percent said other Republicans would call it "somewhat successful." Still, only 4.2 percent said fellow Republicans would call it "very successful."
Patch then asked survey-takers to tell us what pieces of legislation were the most-important to be passed this session and the most-important to fail to pass.
Many respondents skipped the question altogether, or only filled in one piece of legislation on the positive or negative.
But in general:
The Voter ID law (which the state is battling the Department of Justice over) was mentioned the most, along with the budget (which is still being approved in Columbia) and the new Department of Administration (which is still be worked on in committee).
Overwhelmingly, disappointment in legislation that did not pass fell to school choice, which many SC Republicans have been trying to get through the State House for several years.
The Red Palmetto Survey
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican activists, party leaders and elected officials in South Carolina. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Surveys were conducted between June 13 and June 15, 2012.
Patch will be conducting Red Palmetto and Blue Palmetto surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in South Carolina.If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly surveys that lasts just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Chris Winston at email@example.com.
Red Palmetto Roster: Aubry Alexander (Charleston City Council-District 9), Thomas Alexander (State Senator), Dean Allen (Tea Party Activist), Charm Altman (President Sea Island Republican Women), Todd Atwater (S.C. Rep. Dist. 87), Rep. Nathan Ballentine (SC House Dist. 71), Bill Banning, Sr. (Vice-chair, Lexington County Council), Bob Barnwell (Richland Co. GOP Spring Valley), Joseph Bates, Jr. (Committeeman/ Richland Co. GOP Dutch Fork), Gresham Barrett (Former U.S. Congressman, current consultant), Eric Bedingfield (State Rep/Congressional Staffer), Rick Beltram (Former Spartanburg GOP Chair), Lin Bennett (Chair, Charleston County GOP), Rich Bolen (Chair, Lexington County GOP), Andrew Boucher (Business consultant and political advisor), Phillip Bowers (Chairman, Pickens County Republican Party), Dan Bracken (President, The Auction Co. & Real Estate Inc.), Edward Britt (Engineer), Joe Bustos (Former town councilman), Jay Byars (Dorchester County councilman), Bob Call (Berkeley County Councilman), Tim Callanan (Berkeley County GOP Chairman), Earl Capps (Blogger), Ed Carter (Small business owner), Erica Christian (Chairwoman of Young Upstate Republicans) Ben Coakley (Investment adviser), Edward Cousar (Executive Director, Black Republican PAC), M. Todd Cullum (Lexington County Council member), Rep. Joe Daning (Statehouse rep.), Patrick Donlon (Chair, Northern District, Lexington County Republican County), Dana Eiser (Lowcountry 9.12 president), Linda Eiser (9/12 conservative), Scott Farmer (Richland County GOP Committeeman), Chip Felkel (Political Consultant), Will Folks (Editor, fitsnews.com; spokesman for former Gov. Mark Sanford), Leland Glen (Author), Chris Godbey (Political Consultant), Susan Grady (Republican activist), Randy Halfacre (Mayor of Lexington), Dan Hamilton (State Representative), Larry Hargett (Dorchester County Council chairman), Val Hutchinson (Richland County Council), Johnny Jeffcoat (Town of Lexington Economic and Community Catalyst; Lexington County Council member), Debbie Jones (9.12 Board Member), Joanne Jones (Republican activist), Grayson Kelly (Fundraiser), James Kinard (Banker, Chair, Lexington County Council), Todd Kincannon (Lawyer/former executive director of SC Republican Party), Bob Kouvolo (President/ MaxPt), Jim Lee (S.C. Senate candidate), Mickey Lindler (Chairwoman for Republicans of Lexington and Richland Counties), Chris Mann (City Councilman), Karen Martin (Organizer/Spartanburg Tea Party), Larry Martin (State Senator), Taft Matney (Conservative Political Consultant), James Metts (Lexington County Sheriff), Matt Moore (Executive Director for SC GOP), Susan Morris (Nonprofit executive director), Mike Murphee (Charleston Tea Party chairman), Deborah Myers (Political activist), Brent Nelsen (Professor of Political Science/former candidate for Supt. of Education), Don Nye (Bank employee), Allen Olson (Former Chairman of Columbia TEA Party), Walt Owens (University Professor), Randy Page (President,South Carolinians for Responsible Government), Gregory Pearce (Richland Co. Councilman), Kathy Perry (Charleston County Republican Women), Adam Piper (SC GOP 3rd Vice Chairman & political director for Huntsman campaign), Zach Pippin (GOP Media Consultant), Barbara Pulicicchio (Political activist), Rick Quinn (S.C. Rep. Dist. 69), Jeff Reuer (Vice Chair Goose Creek 9-12), DeLinda Ridings (SC GOP State Secretary/Huntsman campaign), Robby Robbins (Lawyer), Emily Rudolph (Sea Island Republican Women), LaDonna Ryggs (Spartanburg GOP Chair), Michael Sally (Hanahan City Councilman), Dennis Saylor (Chair, Aiken GOP), Lanneau Siegling (State Executive Committeeman), Billy Simons (Conservative activist), Garry Smith (State Rep), John Steinberger (Fair Tax activist), Alex Stroman (SCGOP Political Director), Shell Suber (VP for Public Affairs and Business Development at The Felkel Group, a political public relations company), Mary Ann Taylor (Charleston County Republican Women/Charleston County School Board), Hope Walker (Member Services Director, SCGOP), September Wellborn (State GOP Delegate), Jennifer Willis (County Councilwoman/ V.P. One Tree Hill), Henry Wilson (2011 delegate, S.C. Republican Convention), Kerry Wood (Consultant, former SC Campaign manager for Rick Santorum) Cheryl Woods-Flowers (Former mayor, Republican official), James David Woodard (Professor of Political Science, Clemson University).