Skip to comments.Spratt (D) rules out Senate run to stay in House (South Carolina)
Posted on 06/22/2003 11:38:37 PM PDT by LdSentinal
Washington John Spratt: Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in '04?
Don't count on it.
Though S.C. Democrats relish the idea of the experienced York congressman running if U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., doesn't, Spratt says he is U.S. House bound.
There Spratt is an acknowledged heavyweight -- in seniority, in position and for his voluminous knowledge of the federal budget.
"Who me?" he says when asked about a Senate run last week. "No. I have 21 years of seniority in the House. I sit one chair away from the chairmanship of Armed Services, and I'm the ranking member on the Budget Committee.
"This is the best place for me."
It's hard for Democrats to argue that Spratt should give up his safe high chair in the House for a shot at the Senate in a heavily Republican state. But that hasn't stopped friends from trying.
South Carolina's other Democrat in the House, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of Columbia, says he's made a run at Spratt more than once, but to no avail.
As for Clyburn himself taking a shot, the six-termer says he doesn't believe a black person can win statewide in South Carolina.
If he thought one could, would he run?
"In a heartbeat," Clyburn said.
So that leaves who among the Democrats running if Hollings retires after serving in the Senate since 1966?
S.C. Democratic Party chairman Joe Erwin won't name names, but he has talked to half a dozen Democrats who are seriously interested.
Of those, he said, "three are good prospects and one is borderline."
Asked if popular S.C. Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum fell into the "good prospects" category, Erwin said he will continue to discuss the job with her but won't push her to do something she doesn't want to.
"She could win," he said.
THE BBQ INDICATOR
Of course high-profile S.C. Democrats begin and end their commentary on next year's Senate race with the same refrain: "I hope the senator will run again."
Does that June 11 fund-raiser barbecue at Hollings' Washington home mean that he will?
Not necessarily. The fete, which netted about $100,000, is an annual affair. Had Hollings not thrown it -- now that might have meant something.
Though Hollings pays District of Columbia taxes on the house, the menu was strictly Carolina: pulled pork, sweet potatoes, green beans and sweet tea.
Speaking of fund raising, U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, the Greenville Republican who is intent on taking on Hollings or whomever runs on the Democratic ticket, reports that he is nearing his ambitious goal.
DeMint, who wanted to raise $1 million by the summer, says that he's "about there."
We'll get the exact number after July 15, when campaign finance reports are due at the Federal Election Commission.
Other Republicans who have expressed interest in running for Senate include: former state Attorney General Charlie Condon, of Charleston; Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride; and Charleston real estate developer Thomas Ravenel.
'Cause Spratt ain't goin' down 'til he retires, most likely. They'll probably give it a go this year with Dubya on the ticket and more new conservative suburban voters crossing the border from Charlotte every day, but it's still a longshot.
Spratt is the classic example of how much re-election power incumbents hold. Here is a guy who works to stop tax cuts at the Federal level and we keep sending him back to Washington. He is very clever though in how he votes and stays in the background almost always...
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