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Say Hello To The Woodshed, Mr. Merrill July 3, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.



FITSNews – July 3, 2007 – We’d like to go ahead and state for the record that we think the world of Rep. Shirley Hinson. She’s one of the smartest, most consistent lawmakers in Columbia and while we don’t always agree with her, 99% of the time we can at least respect where she’s coming from. We also thought she would be a virtual lock to win the special election for S.C. Senate District 44, the seat vacated by the death of Sen. Bill Mescher.

That’s why we were so surprised to see how soundly Hinson was thrashed by former Alcoa executive Paul Campbell, who captured the GOP nod for Mescher’s seat with a resounding 65-35% victory in tonight’s special runoff election.

As bad as this defeat may be for Hinson, though, it’s even worse for her consultant – S.C. Majority Leader Jimmy Merrill. Without putting too fine a point on it, the man most responsible for framing and articulating the message of South Carolina’s so-called Republican majority got taken out to the woodshed and beaten like he stole something.

Merrill, who has been so squirrelly this year he might as well be starring in his own version of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, ran a perfectly atrocious race for Hinson. His message sucked. His mail sucked. And his grassroots and voter turnout sucked.

And as if his performance wasn’t pathetic enough already, Merrill’s forces stooped to a new low with a desperate, last-minute attack flyer that sought to make political hay out of the recent misfortunates of State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel.

Until that flyer went out, we were just embarrassed for Jimmy. Now we’re ashamed for him.

Merrill had a great candidate to work with – an attractive, intelligent, experienced State Representative who also happens to be Chief Majority Whip and a member of the powerful House Ways & Means committee.

How in the hell did he manage to screw all of that up against a guy running a cookie-cutter Rod Shealy campaign complete with the requisite B-grade mail pieces and unoriginal rhetoric du jour?

Technically, there was no incumbent in the open GOP primary for Senate District 44 but let’s be honest – this race was Hinson’s to lose, and Merrill flat out lost it for her.

When he should have been fighting for votes in the district, Merrill was fighting instead to settle insider scores in Columbia – leveraging the assets of the House Republican Caucus in an all-out blitzkrieg against Hinson enemies both real and imagined. And when he finally did start focusing on the race itself, he forgot to shed the insider political gamesmanship that landed his client’s campaign in such a hole to begin with.

Merrill’s performance no doubt sent lumps hurtling up and down the throats of several Republican House members currently relying on him to handle their races in what is shaping up to be one of most incumbent-unfriendly election year in American history.

It also punched a king-sized hole in the cocky, above-it-all persona that Merrill has relied on to rise to his current position in politics.

We keep hearing all kinds of rumors about Merrill – that his behavior toward his colleagues has been uncharacteristically evasive over the past six months, that he may not run for Majority Leader again, that he may be content to sit back and run political races out of his spacious new mansion on Daniel Island … etc.

Whatever the truth behind the rumors, Merrill’s stock took a huge hit tonight. How he responds to that hit will dictate not only his own political future, but also the fortunes of countless Republicans facing tough political sledding in 2008.



1. Disappointed - July 4, 2007

The Republican leadership has turned its back on the people it represents. Merrill is just another example.
How did we become so dysfunctional as a party? How did we manage to have so many low life’s (from Thad “the punk” Viers to Merrill and his pathetic campaign flyer) in high positions?
Much of the problem lies at the feet of the Governor and GOP Chairman Dawson. Neither requires a high standard of behavior…only that one serves their selfish needs. After that they have little interest in the integrity of the party or the people. And that lack of integrity is now showing itself in many ways.
What we have here is a failure of leadership…

2. Tina Adams - July 4, 2007

Will, couldn’t it be possible that voters in the Senate district just didn’t want Rep. Hinson to be their senator and that it wasn’t the fault of Merrill at all! Oh, and by the way, I heard it was Earl Capps who sent out the mail piece, not Jimmy.

3. Earl Capps - July 4, 2007

Tina – or whoever you are – I hate to break the news to you, but I did no direct mail work for anyone running for that Senate seat. I’d be more than happy to submit that to you in a sworn statement.

I’d also be interested in knowing your source for this information.

I didn’t support Campbell – that much is no secret. But did I think he was part of some alleged criminal conspiracy? Hell no. That’s way over the top.

Or maybe get one of the mail pieces in question and look at the postage information on the front side? That should tell you who sent it out, which should tell you if it was or was not me.

You’ll look a lot more credible if you’d take a few minutes to share facts to support your claims, instead of simply saying you “heard” it.

4. sic haters - July 4, 2007

like you could do any better jackass. slimy try to stick up for your slimeball buddy thomas ravanel.

5. Heard it Through the Grapevine... - July 4, 2007

Hey, Earl. I “heard” the same thing as Tina.

By the way, what is it about you giving a sworn statement that is supposed to add to your credibility? That would be about as meaningful as a sworn statement from Will Folks. You and will live to unfounded rumors. Hurts when you are the subject of one, doesn’t it?? 🙂

6. Earl Capps - July 4, 2007

Sic hater – you wouldn’t be the only one who thinks I’m a jackass. Heck, you might even be right on that one.

7. sic haters - July 4, 2007

hey doofus I was dogging on Sic Willie. whassa matta you?

8. Earl Capps - July 4, 2007

Grapevine – at least you see my name here. I don’t see yours.

What I write on my blog, I stand behind. But if you would like to call me out on anything I’ve written there, go for it. I like when my readers have enough sense to take what I’m talking about, do their homework, and make sure I’m not BSing them.

I’m sure your highly-credible sources had evidence to back up their claims? By all means, please share this proof as to my blog being a source of “unfounded rumors” or the attack mail.

As to how much it hurts … hell, I’ve got a good day job in the private sector. Been there for years, and it beats playing kiss-ass in the political realm with people less mature than my kids. Say what you want about me – my bills will still get paid at the end of the day.

As for Will, I’ll let him speak for himself.

9. Palmetto Observer - July 5, 2007

Isn’t the base of this district Moncks Corner and Pinopolis (where Campbell is) ? Isn’t Campbell a longtime Santee Cooper guy, arguably the largest employer in the region? And for some reason or another, i think voters still think about the whole Hinson/Law debacle several years ago. Please someone who lives in this area help me out here…did this play into it, or was it really Merrill’s campaign? I think it has to do more with demographics and the fact that “Columbia Insiders” like Shirley are just not seen as upstanding people right now

10. district 44 local - August 6, 2007

Isn’t the base of this district Moncks Corner and Pinopolis (where Campbell is) ?
Arguably, but Campebll is from Goose Creek.
Isn’t Campbell a longtime Santee Cooper guy, arguably the largest employer in the region?
No, but he loves to give that vibe. After retiring from Alcoa he was appointed to the Board.
And for some reason or another, i think voters still think about the whole Hinson/Law debacle several years ago.
The Hinson/Law debacle single handedly lost Shirley the race; the RNC could not have won that race for her.

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