The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

South Carolina Good Ol’ Boys Face Little Competition

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According to Ballotpedia – a wiki website that covers state legislatures and ballot measures – South Carolina’s legislative elections for 2010 are remarkably uncompetitive.

Researchers for the site gauge competitiveness based on three measures:

  1. Did the incumbent run for re-election?
  2. Was there a primary opponent to the incumbent?
  3. In the general election, is there a Republican and a Democrat on the ballot?

Texas came in as the least competitive state, while New Hampshire was the most competitive.

How did South Carolina perform? Not well.

The state has 124 House seats up for election in 2010. The Senate is not holding elections.

Of those 124 House seats, only 11 incumbents are not seeking re-election: 8.9 percent. That is well below the national average of 18.6 percent.

Additionally, 87 incumbents faced no primary.

In fact, 70 percent of South Carolina seats up for election only fielded one major party candidate. That works out to 70.16 percent of the races – the highest percentage of one-party races in the country. Nationally, 32.7 percent of seats have only one major party candidate.

Overall, South Carolina ranks 41st among the 46 states that have state legislative elections this year.

As we all know, competition is key for a vibrant, prosperous and fair economy. The same holds true for political systems.

If legislators aren’t facing any competition in elections, what reason do they have to be accountable to the voting public?

Elections are a way for the public to remind political officials: “Hey, we’re watching you. If you don’t represent us, we will vote you out.”

But in South Carolina – and most states across the country – that’s not the case.

See here and here for more reasons why we need legislative reform.


Written by SC Policy Council

October 14, 2010 at 11:20 am

Posted in General Assembly

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  1. […] Yesterday, we wrote about South Carolina ranking 41st in terms of state legislative competitiveness. […]

  2. […] this month, we mentioned that South Carolina had uncompetitive elections, as measured by the political encyclopedia, […]

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