Nash gains in South Carolina's Congressional race

In a field of 16 contenders for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, Ray Nash and others are rising to the top. Photo: Ray Nash For Congress and Associated Press

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2013 ― The primary to fill U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s former office in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District is just two weeks away, on March 19th. The position has been highly contested, with 16 Republican candidates currently in the race.  

It is very likely that the top two Republican contenders will proceed to a run-off election two weeks after the primary.

Ray Nash quickly gains ground.

The former Sherriff of Dorchester County, Ray Nash, has spent thirty-four years in public service as a law-enforcement professional. In January, Nash returned from his position serving as the Criminal Justice Adviser for the US Embassy in Kabul to vie for the position.

Nash is gaining ground in the Republican primary for his speaking abilities, debate performance, candor, vast experience, and small-government views.

Ray attributes most of the nation’s problems to its departure from the Constitution, and favors constitutionally conservative initiatives such as a balanced-budget amendment and the Fair Tax.

On March 7th, Nash handily won the “Fight for the First Debate“ with 21 percent of the vote out of 15 of the candidates present. The debate was moderated by a panel led by South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, and hosted by, the Republican Liberty Caucus of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Radio Network. 

Afterward, the Republican Liberty Caucus endorsed Ray Nash unanimously. As a result, an associated Political Action Committee (PAC) began a “#SendASheriff to Congress” Moneybomb event hosted at

Nash has risen through the ranks to second place on the Charleston County Republican Party’s (Charleston GOP’s) online poll. The TEA Party Patriot Action Network also endorsed him, and in late February, Nash received the highest marks in the FreedomWorks Forum and Voter Guide.

Sanford remains a close second.

Former Governor Mark Sanford was disgraced in 2009, after he could not be reached supposedly hiking the Appalachian Trail and subsequently, when news of his extra-marital affair arose. Sanford was actually in Argentina carrying on the affair. After his divorce from Jenny Sanford, Mark Sanford got engaged to his “soul mate,” Argentinian María Belén Chapur.

He is now running to re-claim a Congressional seat that he held from 1995 to 2001. It has recently been widely reported that Sanford asked ex-wife Jenny Sanford to manage his campaign for Congress, just as she had when he first ran for the U.S. House in 1994.

On the Charleston GOP poll, Sanford has less than a tenth of the votes as the lead contender. However, in the recent Fight for the First Debate, Sanford placed second with 16 percent of the vote. He also placed second in the FreedomWorks Forum and Voter Guide.

Sanford has enjoyed the endorsement of many of his old supporters from around the country, including RedState’s Erick Erickson, who pleads for voters forgive Sanford for his mistakes.

Curtis Bostic misses several campaign opportunities.

Attorney and Charleston County Councilman, Curtis Bostic, currently enjoys the most support on his Facebook page, with around 6,000 likes. These have been garnered largely through grassroots efforts among personal contacts, including those in the homeschooling community. 

Bostic stands at first place in the Charleston GOP’s online poll with 39 percent. This is partially attributable to his months on the campaign before Ray Nash (34 percent), and others.

After scoring 12th place in the FreedomWorks Forum and Voter Guide, Curtis has been noticeably absent, or pledged to attend and then canceled his appearance at many events.  These include the Fight for the First Debate in North Charleston, the Republican Liberty Caucus Forum in Mount Pleasant, and the Patriot Dinner at the Citadel.

Bostic has also been criticized for living outside of the First District. He and his family will not be able to vote in the elections. Bostic responded that living 4,500 feet from the district hasn’t disengaged him from the community.

Larry Grooms receives two Congressional endorsements.

Clemson graduate and small business owner Larry Grooms has been serving in the South Carolina Senate for 15 years. He recently won among Republicans in a Berkeley County straw poll just ahead of Sanford and Nash.  

He stands on his fiscally conservative record, claiming to be the only one to actually have voted against big budgets, including Mark Sanford’s budgets. He scored third place on the FreedomWorks Voter Guide.

Recently, two of South Carolina’s Congressmen, Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney, jointly endorsed Larry Grooms, citing their trust in his record and service together in the state senate.

Teddy Turner is largely overlooked.

Teddy Turner, son of liberal media mogul and United Nations Foundation founder Ted Turner, joined the race in January.  

Turner claims to be a conservative, even mentioning the fact that “You can’t pick your parents.” Even so, his father has donated the maximum legal amount to his campaign.

Turner was ranked 7th, 9th, and 10th place in the FreedomWorks Voters Guide, Fight for the First Debate, and Charleston GOP Poll, respectively.

John Kuhn resorts to negative campaigning.

Recently, former South Carolina State Senator, businessman, and Tax Attorney, John Kuhn, has raised eyebrows with comments about fellow contenders.

During his closing remarks at the Fight for First Debate, Kuhn reminded voters that he had been married to and faithful to the same woman for more than 20 years, making an evident jab at Sanford. 

He also sent out a mailer criticizing Teddy Turner, ominously implying that Turner’s true allegiances lie with his father Ted Turner and stepmother Jane Fonda. This left Turner “flabbergasted.” Turner responded, “I guess I shouldn’t be, because this is the sort of thing that career politicians do.”


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John Paul Cassil

John Paul Cassil studied Business Management (Entrepreneurship) and Political Science, recently graduating from Clemson University with the highest GPA of all business majors in his class. Cassil currently performs business analysis for the Secretary's Office of the U.S. Department of State, with an active Top Secret Security Clearance. 

Cassil has extensively traveled throughout Europe, the US, and the Middle East. He's lived across the American South, in Belgium, Kuwait, and Israel. He has interests in politics and foreign policy, having participated in numerous Model United Nations conferences around the world, including Harvard World MUN in Taipei, Taiwan and Princeton's 2008 Youth Initiative for Progress in Iraq Conference, in Amman, Jordan. 

In 2007, Cassil was appointed as a U.S. House of Representatives Republican Cloakroom Page by Speaker of the House John Boehner. Cassil has since worked for Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, as well as South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson's successful campaign. 

In College, Cassil served as the Managing Editor and Media Director of Clemson's Tiger Town Observer, as well as the Founder and Chairman of Clemson's Young Americans for Freedom. He has spoken about his collegiate activism at national conferences of organizations such as the Young America's Foundation and Eagle Forum. He has written articles for both The Washington Times Communities and Roll Call.

To find out more about Cassil, visit

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This column does not express the opinions of the U.S. Government or any of its agencies.


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