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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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District 18: Trout, White...and Selby?
Jonathan Pait
October 19, 2004

Looks like the Greenville County District 18 council seat is turning into a three man race.  I received the following release via email:
Citizens for a Conservative Greenville is initiating a local campaign to write in County Councilman Steve Selby for District 18. The organization has been founded by a group of constituents from District 18 who desire to keep a strong conservative influence in Greenville County. They are exercising their lawful right to this vote for an open public office by write-in ballot because:
  • The current Republican nominee was significantly supported by liberal influential Democrats in the Primary Election
  • Some media outlets went out of their way to damage Steve Selby’s credibility with biased reporting, and,
  • These constituents desire to vote for a candidate who will maintain a conservative voice on Greenville’s County Council and encourage others to do the same.
For more information, please visit www.writeinselby.org or call 864-787-3350.

Will they be successful?  Who can know.  History certainly seems to be against them.  Some attitudes may have to be changed if they want to get  people over the "why can't I just pull a lever" hurtle.

History shows that write-in candidates rarely succeed.  There are some notable exceptions -- one right here in South Carolina with Strom Thurmond's 1954 Senate win.  However, such wins are the exception, not the rule and the more local the race, the less likely.

It would take a sizeable media blitz and one-on-one education program in order to first make people aware of the opportunity to write-in a candidate and then to educate them in how to write-in that person.  Interestingly, it will be more simple to write-in a candidate this year because of the electronic ballot.  Voters can simply push a button signifying they wish to submit a write-in ballot and a keyboard appears on the screen allowing them to type in the name.

Even with the money and the man power, can Citizens for a Conservative Greenville win voters from apathy?  Unless you were a staunch Selby supporter, you will most likely just take the easy route and vote Republican vs. Democrat - or not vote at all.  Even some Selby supporters have expressed to me, "Maybe it would be best if Steve wasn't in there."  Even though they feel he has been mischaracterized and did a good job, they just don't think he will be able to be effective because of the hubbub around the District 18 race.  Those voters would have to be pulled back into the fold.

What has to happen to see Selby win?

  1. CCG has to get a majority of the voters who cast a ballot for Selby in the primary to write-in his name.
  2. The charge that many of Trout's votes came from Democrats will need to be true and those votes get split between Trout and White.
  3. The Democratic turnout will need to be light.

If they could pull that off, it still would not likely end in a Selby win.  Guess what?  It would mean yet another runoff!

Ain't politics fun?

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