A Florence Republican has resigned his seat in the Statehouse a little more than a month after he was reelected.
State Rep. Kris Crawford, R-Florence, announced on his Facebook page Tuesday that he had sent a letter of resignation to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, effective immediately. He has served in the House since his election in 2006.
Crawford said his job leading an emergency room has become more complicated in recent years. At the same time, he said his daughters were reaching adolescence. “It just was not all fitting together anymore like it did when the children were little and my clinical practice was simpler,” he told South Carolina Radio Network.
The lawmaker was unopposed in his reelection bid this November for House District 64, which covers west and southern Florence. Crawford said he was already thinking about leaving the House when the chamber met in an organizational session last week. During the two-day session, legislators elected a new Speaker of the House and reformed their rules. Crawford was assigned to a brand-new committee that was tasked with reviewing each state agency every seven years.
“It was sort of an epiphany,” he said. “The organizational session, you’re just clipping two little days out of December. But the degree to which that was disruptive to my life this year was more than in the past. And, honestly, my heart just wasn’t in it. At that point in time, I think you’ve got to reevaluate.”
Crawford was one of the chamber’s more conservative Republicans, voting libertarian against the House GOP leadership on some issues such as texting while driving. He worked to expand immunizations in South Carolina, sponsoring a 2010 law that made it easier for licensed nurses to give vaccines. He also sponsored a 2011 law that made it easier for the state to quarantine tuberculosis patients who refused to stay at home.
However, he also found his name in the headlines for negative reasons during his career. Crawford was found guilty on tax charges in 2012 for not filing his business taxes from 2004-2007. He was given a $10,000 fine, but avoided jail time and kept his seat in the House. The Republican has always professed his innocence, saying a former accountant never told him about the unfiled returns. Crawford also generated controversy in 2013 when he criticized his fellow Republicans for not supporting Medicaid expansion, telling a business panel that “it is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now.”
Crawford said he felt now was a good time to step down, as a new House leadership under Speaker Jay Lucas (whose Darlington County seat borders Florence County) takes charge. “With my resignation, a new representative will be able to start their legislative service with a new Speaker and at a time when the House is turning a new page,” he posted on Facebook.
UPDATE: The watchdog news website The Nerve reported Wednesday that Crawford’s resignation came one day after they contacted him about some of his campaign’s finances. Those included nearly $21,000 given by his campaign to a company registered in his wife’s name from 2008-2010. Of the 30 payments in that time, 21 were under the heading titled, “Campaign Management.”