The 2014 midterm elections are over and to few peoples’ surprise, Republicans remain dominant in South Carolina.
Governor Nikki Haley won a second term with 56 percent of the vote on Tuesday, a margin that Clemson University political science professor David Woodard believes is solid enough for the Republican to set her agenda. Woodard said he sees Haley continuing an adversarial relations ship with the General Assembly.
“I don’t expect any cozy new relationships to be formed in the wake of the Harrell resignation, and I think she was able to take advantage of the rising economy to set her up.”
Woodard says it is interesting to note that Lindsey Graham won reelection by capturing 54 percent of the vote, while fellow Republican Sen. Tim Scott took his race with a whopping 61 percent of the vote in his first statewide election. Scott was running to fill the final two years of former Senator Jim DeMint’s term after being appointed to the seat temporarily last year. Woodard says preliminary exit polling shows that Scott garnered support for a number of reasons which could indicate he’s a rising political star.
“I was really impressed with the range of reasons for why people voted for Tim Scott,” Woodard said. “They were impressed with his position on the issues, they were impressed with his religious convictions, his social convictions, and his economic message. They were all across the board for supporting him.”
Woodard said, along with Scott, 4th District Congressman Trey Gowdy is poised to move on to the national stage after building a reputation as a “tough guy” during the hearings on Benghazi.
Woodard said the big winners on the national front were “establishment” Republicans like Graham, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is now poised to become Senate Majority Leader. Those senators, according to Woodard, pushed back significant Tea Party opposition during the primary season. Woodard said the GOP appears willing to move from Tea Party-led obstructionism of Democratic ideas towards developing a clear policy agenda of their own.
“I think they understand their responsibility now and I look for them to put together a budget to try to do some things that haven’t been done in Washington for a while,” he said. “They need to try to look like they can govern and that will set them up for 2016.”