Tom Davis bows out, won’t run for governor

This release moved a little while ago:

BEAUFORT, S.C. – South Carolina State Senator Tom Davis released the following statement regarding our state’s 2018 gubernatorial race:

“I had promised to announce what my plans would be for the 2018 gubernatorial race right after Labor Day, so I am – though I feel a bit self-conscious making such a political statement at a time when so many South Carolinians are terrified of Hurricane Irma and the havoc it might bring.  In that regard, I will continue to do whatever I can to assist others in preparing for that storm and be prepared as I have in the past to help them recover from whatever it might bring.

Sen. Tom Davis

Sen. Tom Davis, from Facebook

“As for the 2018 gubernatorial race, I want to start by thanking all of the people from across the state who took the time in recent weeks to offer a word of support or advice; I am truly humbled and honored. But I’ve concluded the timing simply isn’t right for me to run a statewide campaign.  From a family standpoint, a business standpoint and a personal standpoint, I’m just not in a position to undertake an endeavor of this magnitude.  This became evident to me during conversations with my family, friends and constituents over the past few days.

“From a political standpoint, in thinking about this, I’ve tried to be honest about where and how, at this particular point in time, I can do the most good for our state. And the answer to that lies in this: South Carolina government is dominated by the legislature, and recent history has shown that reform-minded governors without legislative support can’t get much accomplished.

“I don’t want to tilt at windmills; I want to get things done, and I’m in a unique position in the State Senate to impact public policy on behalf of individual liberty and free markets – in some cases to a greater degree than if I were in the governor’s office. The role I played in shaping the recent debates on pension reform, the gas tax, and highway spending is evidence of that.

“I think there’s an argument to be made that taxpayers are better served right now by having me exactly where I am, especially if we can get more reform-minded lawmakers elected in 2018 and 2020.  And so that’s where I will be for the foreseeable future. There’s a lot of hard work ahead for all of us, but together we can get it done.”

I like Tom Davis a lot; he’s a good guy. But this is good news. The run-of-the-mill Republicans are quite libertarian enough, thank you very much. We don’t need another governor this doctrinaire….

8 thoughts on “Tom Davis bows out, won’t run for governor

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      If he runs, probably so, given the field so far.

      I would normally like the incumbent, but he now has two serious black eyes — endorsing Trump, and vetoing the roads bill.

      I was willing to let the Trump thing go, and welcomed his becoming governor. But the roads veto was inexcusable, and all about playing to extremists rather than governing…

  1. Doug Ross

    “I was willing to let the Trump thing go, and welcomed his becoming governor. ”

    Hypothetically, would you prefer a Trump supporter to a non-Trump supporting Libertarian?

    Your logic is sometimes baffling. If Trump is the nightmare you have continuously ranted against for almost a year, how could you ever vote for one of his strongest backers? Who could be worse? Or is just that you value old white guys who have many years on the government payroll over anything else?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, that’s it.

      Gimme a break over here.

      The reason my logic baffles you is that you are a purist. You don’t overlook things. But the thing is, in order to work with people in the real world, you have to.

      I don’t think there’s anyone in politics who hasn’t done or said something that I find highly objectionable. To you, that would seem to mean that you withhold approval until someone perfect comes along. To me, it does not. It means you look at candidates and see whether one is a LOT better than the other — or, in a pinch, even a LITTLE BIT better.

      Because you have to go ahead and deal with the world as it is.

      The reasons I would be inclined to go with Henry is that I was impressed by his performance as AG. Before that, I thought he was a party hack. But I found I had to rethink that assessment when he was attorney general.

      Then, in the 2010 primary, he was by FAR the most reasonable, mainstream guy in the GOP field for governor. But he got stomped by the Tea Party.

      I was remembering that (relatively) reasonable guy who had done a good job as AG when he became governor. I wasn’t going to dismiss him purely because of that one inexcusable thing — becoming the first statewide elected official in the nation to endorse Trump.

      But then when he utterly failed a test of leadership as governor, it pretty much suspended my willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Y’all sometimes indicate that I never change my mind. Of course I do. I’ve done so with Henry a number of times. You know why? Because he’s given me cause to.

      But with me, libertarianism almost always fails the test. And Trump does more often than that. So with those two things, you won’t see much wavering on my part.

      As to your question, “Hypothetically, would you prefer a Trump supporter to a non-Trump supporting Libertarian?”… That’s impossible to answer reliably. In real life, each would be a complex person with all sorts of characteristics that you’re not telling me about.

      You force me to answer, and I’ll say I’d prefer “a non-Trump supporting Libertarian.” Why? Because you’ve given me two points to consider — something good and something bad. With the Trump supporter, you didn’t give me anything good, which makes that hypothetical person 100 percent bad, until I have more information.

      Of course, the minute those hypotheticals become real people, I’ll have a lot more information to work with, and the answer might change…

      1. Doug Ross

        I’m not a purist… but I have some basic “must haves” that would eliminate a candidate. I don’t vote for candidates who disagree with me on core principles. I didn’t vote for Trump because he’s a buffoon who is a war hawk. The latter is more of an issue to me than the former. It’s a non-starter for any candidate for me.

        If a guy said he thought Charles Manson had some good ideas, I would not vote for him even if he was for a flat tax and legalizing marijuana. With the way you carry on about Trump, I would have thought that would at least be some sort of litmus test.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, I can’t very well say I’m never going to agree with anyone who voted for Trump. Too many — almost half the electorate — did.

          Henry’s situation is worse, of course. He endorsed him at a time when such an endorsement was unprecedented, and therefore the endorsement could be seen as adding to his momentum.

          But I had a lot of other things to consider when it came to Henry. Here’s one: He had stuck by John McCain when it looked like his star was fading for several months in 2007. That gives him some points to spend. But ultimately, the fact that he is associated more with the traditional mainstream of his party rather than one of the radical offshoots — the Tea Party, the Club for Growth types — meant the most. Well, that and the fact that he had been a pretty good AG… Actually, I’d say the latter was the greater factor…

          1. Doug Ross

            “Here’s one: He had stuck by John McCain when it looked like his star was fading for several months in 2007. That gives him some points to spend. ”

            Um, that might have been the first red flag showing his inability to judge people. You do remember McCain lost the election by a wide margin to a political neophyte and gave us Sarah Palin to deal with from 2007 on into the future thus paving the way for Trump?


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