Commonviews 2002: Does Anyone Care About GOP Lt. Governor's Race?
May 20, 2002
When I started this Commonviews 2002 series well over a month ago, I had good intentions to cover each of the four major statewide races: Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State.
However, although I have already written articles about all of the other major political contests in South Carolina, this is the very first article I have written about the Lt. Governor’s race.
And, it will likely be the last one, because...
Besides the candidates themselves, is there anyone in South Carolina who really cares about who wins the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor?
The Governor's race is capturing much of the attention of the media. Even still, the other statewide races are garnering much more press than the Lt. Governor campaign has.
The miniscule interest in the GOP Lt. Governor’s race in 2002 certainly cannot be attributed to a lack of good candidates. Rep. Rita Allison, Sen. Andre Bauer and Sen. David Thomas are all highly respected public officials who are competing against each other for the Republican nomination.
Here is what each of the candidates have said they will do if they become the next Lt. Governor of South Carolina:
Rita Allison says she will “bring a passion for conservative reform” to the Senate. She is the only one of the three GOP candidates running who is giving up her seat in the General Assembly to run. This is her first statewide race.
Andre Bauer is also making his first bid for statewide office. He has pledged to walk 500 miles around the state listening to voters and telling them about his “fresh, new style of leadership.”
David Thomas calls the Lt. Governor position “a wide open job.” He says he “would work with grassroots movements on specific issues.”
Each of these objectives are all well and good, but they are so vague. There’s a very good reason for that!
The position of Lt. Governor is nothing more than a ceremonial position. The primary job of the Lt. Governor, as outlined in the South Carolina Constitution, is to preside over the Senate and cast a vote in the event of a tie. That’s about it!
Some will argue that we should care about who the Lt. Governor is because the person holding that office will become Governor if the current Governor were to die in office. However, this has only occurred one time in the past century when Gov. Joseph Emile Harley died in office on February 27, 1942. The odds of this happening are about as good as your chances are of becoming a millionaire playing the South Carolina Education Lottery!
I am not trying to take anything away from the three candidates running for Lt. Governor. But anyone who has held the office of Lt. Governor can tell you there is nothing to the job.
If you want a job that does not take much skill or effort to do, then the Lt. Governor's job is the one you want. In fact, you can even claim false credit for playing a key role on issues that voters like to hear when you decide to run for Governor in the future! Need I say more?
The Lt. Governor's position is even less important than the Vice-President of the United States. While the Vice-President works closely and advises the President, the Lt. Governor is not an advisor to the Governor (especially when the Governor and Lt. Governor are from different parties as is currently the case!).
So, the question remains: Does anyone care?
What do YOU think?
Do you care who wins the GOP nomination for Lt. Governor?
Does it REALLY matter who holds that job?
Click on the "Comment On This Article" button below to discuss this issue and tell us what YOU think about the Lt. Governor’s race.