With the ex-frontrunner in the Democratic primary for South Carolina’s new congressional seat out of the race, several leading state Democrats have coalesced their support around Horry County attorney Preston Brittain.
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, ex-Rep. John Spratt, former Gov. Jim Hodges, state Sens. John Land and Vincent Sheheen, and Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela joined Brittain a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning to discuss their endorsements of the 32-year-old attorney. Brittain found himself leading the SC-7 last week when state Rep. Ted Vick (D-Chesterfield) dropped out after being charged with DUI and illegally possessing a weapon.
The Democratic leaders didn’t mention Vick’s ignominious exit — even though some of them had already endorsed the state representative — but praised Brittain’s approach to politics and the electoral issues facing the people of the Pee Dee.
“We need somebody who knows the territory of the seventh district,” said Spratt, mentioning local federally-funded projects such as Interstate 73. The link from I-95 to the coast has been in the works for over two decades, but disagreements between South Carolina and the feds (what else is new) over how to fund its construction have kept the highway from being built.
Land, the Senate Minority Leader, said he hadn’t given Brittain’s campaign much notice until the popular Democratic stump speech event at Gallivants Ferry earlier this month. “His Gallivants Ferry speech gave me great comfort now that I’m a senior citizen,” said the Manning senator, who is retiring at the end of his term. “I want to make sure Medicare is around for me and my wife, and Preston’s speech did that for me.”
“His approach to bipartisanship gives me hope that he can make a difference,” added Sen. Sheheen (D-Kershaw). “At the end of the day, what Preston brings is a desire to make government work again.”
If Brittain wins the Democratic primary two weeks from Tuesday, he’ll likely face Republican frontrunner André Bauer. The former lieutenant governor has held a significant polling lead in the GOP primary since the candidate Gov. Nikki Haley endorsed, ex-state Rep. Thad Viers, withdrew from the race after being arrested for harassing his ex-girlfriend.
We’ve already given our take on Bauer’s unconvincing ad campaign. In the meantime, we’re just hoping that unlike Viers and Vick, Brittain and Bauer can stay away from the booze and women until election day.