April 20, 2015

Embattled Statehouse Democrat won’t seek reelection

State Rep. Ted Vick, D-Chesterfield (FILE)

State Rep. Ted Vick, D-Chesterfield (FILE)

A Democrat in the South Carolina House of Representatives, who was on a path to the party’s leadership before a pair of DUI arrests doomed his career, says he will not seek reelection after this year.

State Rep. Ted Vick, D-Chesterfield, announced on Friday that his tenth year in the General Assembly will be his last. Vick had established himself as a moderate-to-conservative Democrat in the chamber and is a senior member of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs Committee.

“It’s time to spend more time and effort on my family,” he said in a statement. “My twins will be 11 this year and they need me to be more focused on their needs and our time together. My family and I have been talking for months about a new phase in our lives and we are looking forward to it. It has been a pleasure to serve the people of SC House District 53 and I am honored they allowed me to represent them in Columbia.”

The 41-year-old Chesterfield Democrat had established himself as chief Minority Whip in the House and was running for Congress when his career came unglued one night in May 2012. That’s when a Columbia police officer pulled him over outside the city’s bar district. The officer said he smelled alcohol on Vick and noticed the lawmaker was unsteady on his feet. Vick was arrested after refusing a Breathalyzer test. The officer later found a pistol in Vick’s pocket, although his concealed weapons permit had expired five years earlier.

Vick pulled out of the race for Congress a day later.

A year later, a Statehouse security guard stopped Vick after Vick struck a cone in the complex’s parking garage with his pickup. The officer reported smelling alcohol on Vick’s breath and arrested the legislator for refusing a sobriety test. Both DUI charges are still pending.

Another complicating factor is that Vick’s rural district in Chesterfield and Lancaster counties is conservative. He narrowly survived reelection in 2012 even though a majority of voters cast ballots against him (he received a plurality after his Republican and conservative petition opponents split the vote).

In his private life, Vick owns a commercial property firm and operated Ted Vick Motors. He also serves as a part-time Baptist pastor and is a lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina National Guard.

He is the fourth legislator to announce his retirement after the 2014 session. State Reps. Liston Barfield, R-Aynor; B.R. Skelton, R-Six Mile, and J.R. Smith, R-Warrenville, have also said they will not seek reelection.