Steve Reuland posted Entry 2727 on November 17, 2006 11:12 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2718

The results of yesterday’s recount will be certified today by the Elections Commission, and pro-science candidate Jim Rex appears to have edged out ID advocate Karen Floyd by the narrowest of margins – 455 votes out of over 1 million cast. This is being called the closest general election result in South Carolina history. There is a strong chance that the Floyd campaign will protest the result (they have 5 days to do so), but this will be a last ditch desperation move. I don’t think I’m being premature in saying that, barring anything really weird, the race is over and Rex has won.

I would like to be able to say that Floyd’s anti-science posturing did her in, but that’s probably not the case. Her unpopular pro-voucher stance, combined with the fact that Rex was by far the more qualified candidate (Floyd has no educational experience), was most likely her undoing. Still, this is quite an achievement for Rex and a major blow to the Discovery Institute.

South Carolina prides itself on marching to the beat of a different drummer, and last Tuesday was no exception. While Democrats were winning across the country, Republicans were sweeping offices in SC. It appeared that the State Superintendent race would be no different; nearly every poll prior to the election had Floyd up by a healthy margin (polls for such “down ballot” races must be taken with a grain of salt, of course) and she had a huge financial lead, thanks in large part to gobs of money from an out-of-state voucher advocate who used dummy corporations to skirt campaign finance laws. But she still lost.

This appears to be the last in a series of massive blows to the Discovery Institute’s political agenda, especially given that South Carolina has been a major focus of theirs. Earlier this year, the state Board of Education rejected DI-backed pro-creationism language in the state curriculum standards (which of course prompted the DI to declare victory based on one obscure line that had been added to the standards during a previous year and was not up for consideration). It seems that they can get no traction at all, not even in South Carolina. Maybe they should just give it up already.

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Comment #144759

Posted by Chuck S. on November 17, 2006 12:04 PM (e)

Maybe they should just give it up already.

Fat chance of that, unfortunately…

Comment #144760

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on November 17, 2006 12:14 PM (e)

It seems to me that it’s somewhat incorrect to claim that they got no traction. The whole theme of the article is they came VERY close to winning.

Comment #144773

Posted by Coin on November 17, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

This appears to be the last in a series of massive blows to the Discovery Institute’s political agenda, especially given that South Carolina has been a major focus of theirs.

Are there any pending battles left for them to lose?

Comment #144780

Posted by Steve Reuland on November 17, 2006 1:33 PM (e)

It seems to me that it’s somewhat incorrect to claim that they got no traction. The whole theme of the article is they came VERY close to winning.

But they should have won easily. If they can’t even win with a very well-funded Republican candidate in SC, they’re in trouble.

Comment #144782

Posted by entlord on November 17, 2006 1:36 PM (e)

It is important to remember that Floyd’s credentials are that she is a successful businesswoman and GOP insider. As far as her ideas in education, she promoted vouchers, homeschooling, teaching ID and other competing scientific theories and her website referred to evolution as “only a theory”.
In the broadcast debate, all she could do was parrot certain talking points over and over.
SC has dodged a bullet for once but the amazing thing is that she even ran for office. At this point, it seems Superintendent of Education should be an appointed position.

Comment #144787

Posted by Dr. Michael Martin on November 17, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

What are the IDiots doing now? Wow guys, they still haven’t figured out that Natural Selection is a valid form of Science yet have they? Maybe…just maybe they’ll catch on eventually (one can only hope).

Comment #144788

Posted by Steve Reuland on November 17, 2006 1:50 PM (e)

entlord wrote:

At this point, it seems Superintendent of Education should be an appointed position.

I tend to agree for reasons having nothing to do with this specific election. But given that Sanford is governor, and some of the kooky stuff he’s muttered about evolution, this is the best outcome we could have hoped for.

Comment #144800

Posted by Coin on November 17, 2006 2:25 PM (e)

But they should have won easily. If they can’t even win with a very well-funded Republican candidate in SC, they’re in trouble.

Well, they’re in trouble right now. But never forget the most powerful tool in the toolbox of the creationist movement: Disappear for five years, then crop up again as if nothing happened, hoping nobody will remember you from last time :P

You say views on science weren’t a leading issue in this campaign, but that competence in education was; even if they weren’t thinking of “Intelligent Design” when they voted, do you think people have been as inspired to vote for a competent and experienced state superintendent candidate if the education-related embarrassments and negative impressions of “Intelligent Design” weren’t fresh in their mind from the news coverage of the last year?

Comment #144807

Posted by Rick @ shrimp and grits on November 17, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

In the broadcast debate, all she could do was parrot certain talking points over and over.

The broadcast debate can’t have helped her. She came across as being completely incompetent to head up education in any state.

SC has dodged a bullet for once but the amazing thing is that she even ran for office. At this point, it seems Superintendent of Education should be an appointed position.

I’m not so sure about that. What kind of person do you think Mark “mosquitoes in a mudhole” Sanford would appoint for the position?

Comment #144911

Posted by jbCharleston on November 17, 2006 6:57 PM (e)

SC can do something unexpected despite the R’s lock almost everywhere. Floyd really came off badly in the debates - and yes, SCarolinians do watch the state debates. I don’t know the voting by district, but I’ll bet that Rex got the urban vote. There is a serious cultural split between urban and rural areas, and with the influx of people “from off”, the tension may increase. To make it more interesting, there is a culture split within the urban areas.

The bigger problem is that the Governor supports ID in the classroom - as did the Dem candidate. They have to to get elected in this state. It’s very frustrating, but one thing will remain true - the legislature makes the same pious talk about fixing education in the state that they did 100 years ago. And they will continue to underfund it for most of the state.

Well, we got one victory for the good guys. I’ll take it.