June 22nd, 2010
11:19 AM ET
8 years ago

South Carolina kin hope to follow suit

Washington (CNN) - While the South Carolina gubernatorial runoff pitting Nikki Haley against Gresham Barrett is claiming a lot of the national and local attention, there is also another interesting political dynamic underway in the state.

Two of the other GOP runoff elections Tuesday are featuring sons of prominent state politicians trying to carry on their father's legacy.

Paul Thurmond, the youngest son of the late Strom Thurmond who was the longest serving and oldest Senator in U.S. history, is running for the nomination for the congressional seat in the First Congressional District, which covers the North Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas. His opponent is Tim Scott, a state representative and an African-American who is hoping to help diversify the Republican ticket. Scott beat Thurmond handily in the June 8th primary. While Thurmond has a lot of backing of local establishment figures, Scott has received of support from national conservative activists, including the Club for Growth, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee.

The elder Thurmond ran for president in 1948 as a segregationist but later disavowed those views.

An ad from the younger Thurmond features him, a member of the Charleston City Council, sitting next to his father. The ad features Paul Thurmond telling the audience "Family is the fabric of South Carolina."

Meanwhile, the battle for the GOP nomination for the Secretary of State features Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson who became famous for his shout out "You Lie" to President Obama during a joint congressional address last September. The younger Wilson is in a bitter contest against Leighton Lord, the son-in-law of Gayle Averyt, who helped rebuild the state party and is the retired chairman of Colonial Life Insurance, a major company in the state. The two were very close in the first primary.

A long-time political observer says this is not a unique phenomenon. "Every state and local area has something similar - because of name recognition and it being a family business," said Robert Oldendick, a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina.

But Oldendick thinks such name identification helps more in the early stages build momentum and to initially get on the ballot. "It is not going to help in the runoff," Oldendick says. "By the time we get to this point in the the runoff primary we have more committed voters. That type of legacy is going to have almost no effect at this point."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to the story

Filed under: 2010 • South Carolina
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "there is also another interesting political dynamic underway in the state. "

    Yes. It was recently discovered that for some unknown reason, SC pumps crack smoke into all state government buildings, including the governor's mansion, the state legislative chambers and even campaign headquarters.

    June 22, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "Family is the fabric of South Carolina."

    SC is looking a little moth-eaten and threadbare then, eh?

    June 22, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. get real

    The next time someone tries to talk about "Chicago politics" which is has it's share of father-son teams, just remind them of the Ron/Rand Paul team, the Joe/Alan Wilson team, The Strom/Paul Thurmond team, and everyone's favorite the George HW/George W Bush team.

    The best part of this GOP joke is that the little jr. politicians are trying to run as political outsiders. Now, that's funny!

    June 22, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |