Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Nelson Flip Flop
Furman professor Brent Nelson first told us a few months ago that he was running for the Republican nomination for Governor of South Carolina. Now, that the chance of securing that nomination seems slight and other considerations are in play, Professor Nelson is announcing his campaign for South Carolina Superintendent of Education.
The Nelson episode gives anyone who is close observer of South Carolina politics some pause. First, Nelson was quick to announce that Senator Jim DeMint was serving as a Chairman of Nelson’s campaign for of Superintendent of Education. Fair enough. DeMint is to be applauded for his stand against Obama’s health care plan. However, keep in mind that DeMint and Graham and nearly every other major Republican gave way too early endorsements to Karen Floyd’s 2006 bid for the office Nelson is now seeking. Floyd’s campaign was incredibly inept and downright stupid, and led to Jim Rex winning.
The coming months will also tell if another factor is at play with Nelson’s switch from the Governor’s race to the of Superintendent of Education race. The Howard Rich money, for now six years a factor in South Carolina politics, could be at play. The seemingly earnest Furman professor could have been offered the money of a lifetime to run for Superintendent so that the field was clear for Rich favorite Nikki Haley in the Governor’s race.
Campaign contribution sources and certain code words in support of the Rich agenda will be telling signs of just where Brent Nelson is politically and just who talked him into changing races. Forgive VUI for its cynicism. But, rarely does a politician change his goals without someone behind the scenes making it worth that politician’s interest.
VUI will be watching the campaign of Brent Nelson for Superintendent of Education closely over the coming months and will point out any contributions and talking points that make Professor Nelson seem under the influence of someone other than the people of South Carolina.