Across South Carolina, Democrats have had a tough go of it during the past decade. The party holds only one congressional seat and has no constitutional officers. Republicans control both houses of the General Assembly. It’s a different story here in Kershaw County, as Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk and Sen. Vincent Sheheen have both proven popular with voters though the GOP generally carries the county in other races. Now, former Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian has announced he’ll run for the party’s top party post later this month, and if nothing else, his candidacy will add a bit of spice to the state’s political stew.
Harpootlian is no shrinking violet. Whenever television cameras are present and microphones are turned on, it’s a good bet he’ll be there. He’s quick with one-liners, most of them meant to denigrate the opposition party. For instance, he was recently quoted as saying of Republicans, “They’ve run it (the state) for the better part of a decade. If you want to continue to live in the state that ranks 50th in education but first in gonorrhea, then vote for them (Republicans) again in two years.” Never mind that the Palmetto State is actually third, not first, in the venereal disease; Harpootlian’s words make headlines.
Of course, the GOP won’t take his vexations lying down. Republican Party Chairman Joel Sawyer responded to the above comment by telling a newspaper, “Those kinds of comments are Dick Harpootlian in a nutshell -- long on pithy one-liners and short on ideas.” Voters can expect a steady stream of such comments and rejoinders if Harpootlian is elected. He might not be able to fully revive the Democratic Party, but he’ll provide lots of entertainment.