Should senators approve U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney to a key White House budget post next month, one of South Carolina’s most recognizable Democratic names would not run for his open House seat.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, posted on Facebook Tuesday that he had considered suggestions to run for the Fifth District seat, but ultimately decided he should stay in his current position.
“I have decided to stay in the South Carolina State Senate and continue working hard for my communities,” the post stated. “South Carolina’s government may be dysfunctional and incompetent after the last 14 years, but being able to drive home at night after fighting the good fight is an amenity I could not give up.”
Sheheen told SC Radio Network he could be more productive in his current role than in a deadlocked Washington. “It seems to me that Washington, DC has gone completely insane and crazy people are running the show,” he said. “South Carolina government has been crazy for a while. But at least I know it.”
The seat is not technically open, although Mulvaney is expected to resign should he be confirmed by the Senate next month as director of the White House’s Office on Management and Budget (OMB). Unlike his fellow South Carolina nominee Nikki Haley, Mulvaney has run into snags in his confirmation process. Democratic senators have criticized his hardline conservative positions on budget cuts, particularly to entitlements and defense spending. But even Republicans are nervous after Mulvaney admitted he had not paid payroll taxes on an in-house employee for four years. Mulvaney has portrayed the oversight as an unintentional mistake, saying he did not realize the woman he hired to babysit his infant triplets needed to have the taxes deducted from her pay.
One legislator has already indicated he will seek the seat should it come open. State Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, said last month he would run for Mulvaney’s seat. Indian Land attorney Kris Wampler and anti-Common Core activist Sheri Few of Elgin have also announced runs for the seat should Mulvaney resign.
Sheheen has served in the state Senate since 2003. Prior to that, he spent two terms in the House. He won the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010 and 2014, but fell to Nikki Haley in the general election both times.