Hicks Palmetto Politics: South Carolina congressional deleg…

‘Tis the season for Republicans to start eating their own.

State Rep. Adam Morgan, chairman of the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, announced last week he would challenge 4th District congressman William Timmons of Greenville in next June’s GOP primary.

Yeah, no one saw that coming.

Morgan, who’s a huge thorn in the side of Republican leadership at the Statehouse, told The Post and Courier’s David Ferrara that “For quite some time, I have noticed a void in presence and in leadership.”

And, most likely, in front of the TV cameras.

Of course, the notorious bomb-thrower couldn’t have picked an easier target to cull from the herd. A month after Timmons won his last primary victory he was the subject of a viral scandal in July 2022 for an affair with the wife of a prominent Greenville developer, which Timmons said at the time had been a “distraction,” Ferrara wrote. 

That might — and that’s a big “might” — have ended his congressional career, but he had no general election opposition in 2022. Why? Because that’s what happens when the Legislature gerrymanders congressional and legislative districts to the point that they aren’t competitive in November.

Voters seldom have little choice in who represents them, unless they vote in the primary of the party that has the district sewn up. And most people don’t do that.

So, instead, this is what happens: Every election cycle, a candidate more extreme than the last runs, forcing the most partisan voters (who are the most likely primary voters) to choose the most extreme candidate. Vicious cycle.

Which is what you already see going on in this campaign’s first days. Timmons, who put out a 600-word press release (and opposition research dump) in response to Morgan’s announcement, tried really hard to out-Trump his challenger.

“Upstate conservatives want a workhorse representing them in Congress, not a show pony,” Timmons said. “The stakes are way too high for someone as unserious as Adam Morgan.”

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