Tara's District 4 Congressional Race Unendorsement List: Who Not to Vote For, and Why

Who Not to Vote for, and Why

The Tara Show
June 10, 2018 - 4:09 pm

With all these confusing and misleading campaign commercials flying around, so many of you have asked me for an endorsement list. Instead, I came up with an unendorsement list with links for you to follow so you can decide for yourself. I put these candidates in order, from worst to vote for, to best.

1. Josh Kimbrell is the worst of the pack. Kimbrell claims to be a conservative, but led the fight for a tax hike in Spartanburg County just last year (see here). Kimbrell has strongly claimed to be against amnesty for illegal aliens and for DACAs throughout the campaign. Yet he unequivocally endorsed amnesty for illegal aliens in 2013, and the Gang of 8 Amnesty bill which would have legalized at least 11 million in an editorial he wrote (see here). He wrote: “America needs comprehensive immigration reform like Senator Marco Rubio has proposed, which provides a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants currently in the country.”  That's the classic definition of amnesty. He also wrote that immigration reform must “provide stability to folks and families already in the nation.” Kimbrell now claims he changed his views once he found out what was in the amnesty bill. But the fact is that no matter what was in the bill that changed his mind about the bill itself, in the editorial he wrote at the time he made it clear that he was for amnesty for 11 million.

Kimbrell later served on a Lindsey Graham's reelection campaign in 2014, for which Graham thanked him and the other members of the committee. (See here.) Kimbrell now says that the Graham campaign added his name to the committee without asking him. Assuming Kimbrell is telling the truth about that, if Kimbrell didn't support Graham, why not ask Graham to remove his name? Clearly Kimbrell was fine with allowing Graham to think he supported him at the time, and allowing voters to think that he supported Graham as well.

Kimbrell also received an endorsement from the Club for Growth, which viciously attacked Donald Trump in the GOP primary. Among the things you had to promise to get the endorsement was to fight Trump's trade agenda. That makes it unclear how Kimbrell, who has a long history of fighting Trump's election before being for Trump now, including using the #NeverTrump hastag (see here), will be able to reconcile himself to supporting Trump and the Trump agenda SC voters voted for.

Kimbrell's interesting personal history also leaves a lot of questions. He was once charged with and arrested for sexually abusing his son. Those charges were later dropped. Here's what the prosecutor said at the time (see here): "Upon receiving this case from the Greenville Police Department and completing an investigation spanning almost four months, my office has determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove the elements of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Kimbrell was later awarded full custody of his son by a judge. 

2. William Timmons is the second worst. He too has claimed to be strongly against amnesty throughout the campaign. Yet while the rest of us were busy shutting down the Congressional call switchboard with our angry phone calls demanding a stop to the Gang of 8 amnesty bill in 2013, he was writing a $1,000 check in March of 2013 to Lindsey Graham, one of the 8 co-sponsors of the bill (see here). Timmons was also endorsed by Marco Rubio in this race, another of the sponsors of the Gang of 8 amnesty bill. Timmons wrote 2 checks to Rubio's campaign for $2,700 each in 2015 and sponsored multiple presidential campaign events for Rubio in his CrossFit Gym. ""Marco, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott really represent the future of the national Republican party," Timmons said. "I am so humbled and honored to have Senator Rubio’s endorsement in this primary.” In addition to years of being best known for supporting amnesty, Rubio has done little lately but support democrats electorally, trash Trump and advocate for DACA amnesty (see here). It's hard to believe that Timmons would get Rubio's endorsement or be allowed to travel in Rubio/Scott's circles if they thought Timmons was a true conservative who would vote against amnesty or DACA amnesty Timmons claims not to support, or if they thought Timmons would stand with Trump on trade or the border wall, as Timmons claims he will. Worse yet, Timmons struggled to explain these contradictions, and his position on offshore exploration on South Carolina's coasts in this interview. My fear is that in Congress, Timmons would quickly fall in with those who support the will of the GOP leadership ... and be another rubber stamp against the will of the American people. Also would not committ to joining the ideologically conservative Freedom Caucus.

3. Dan Hamilton has also insisted he is a conservative on the campaign trail, but was the Greenville Chamber of Commerce's top pick for Congress. The Chamber's leadership has spent years at war with local conservatives. The Chamber is known as a politically liberal organization that supported the recent gas tax hike and fought to allow transgenders to use the bathroom of their choice (see here). I cannot emphasize how liberal this group is, and when the Chamber put out its questionnaire for this year's candidates, they included one question that emphasized the importance of legalizing illegal immigrants through DACA and another on the importance of battling Trump's trade agenda. We were curious how Hamilton managed to wind up first on the recommendation list for Congress given that, and asked all the candidates to turn over their answers to the questionairre. Hamilton was the only member of the top tier who didn't turn his answers over. He says he lost them, but when asked to give the Chamber to give us permission to turn his answers over to us, he has dodged the question, including at a recent debate. I'm afraid that what Hamilton has told the Chamber he would do and what he's told the public he'd do in Congress are two very different things. Also, Hamilton wrote a $250 check to liberal Rep. Neal Collins, this spring ... after Neal has spent the last year pushing for DACA illegal immigrants to get in state tuition at taxpayer expense and be allowed to apply for professional licenses from the state to do everything from cut hair to teach in our schools ... competing head on with South Carolinians who are citizens. With friends like these, it's hard to believe that Hamilton, who refuses to join the Freedom Caucus, would suddenly become conservative in Congress. He has a lot of people to pay back, and they all appear to be liberals or liberal republicans. Dan also missed a third of his votes (433 out of 1,300, see here) while he served in the legislature this past session. 

4. James Epley. Epley is the most consistently pro-Trump candidate in this race. He worked on Trump's campaign and served in his administration. The problem is that that he appeared to be less than forthcoming about a bad check he wrote in an interview on 106.3 WORD. He wrote the check in North Carolina 23 years ago, and pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge. That was a long time ago, and he obviously learned his lesson and didn't do it again. The problem is that in an interview, he told us he didn't remember anything about it, and that the Greenville News probably had him confused with one of the other three James Epleys that lived in the county at the time when they reported he was convicted on the bad check charge and that he told the Greenville News that. We checked with the reporter, and Epley did no such thing. We also checked court records, and the James Epley who wrote the check shares the same birth day, month and year with the one running in this race. I remain baffled as to how Epley could forget a charge he pled guilty to. Were he to provide proof that one of the other Epleys did in fact write the check, I'd feel more comfortable voting for him.

5. Stephen Brown. He is by all accounts a good person with a clean record. He is the former chairman of the Greenville County GOP. However, I'm not certain he wouldn't fall in line with the liberal GOP leadership. He says he opposes abortion and Planned Parenthood, yet says he'd vote for a budget with Planned Parenthood funding in it if it contained other goals he wanted to accomplish. Like every other GOP candidate for the last 20 years, he says he wants to balance the budget and would support a balanced budget amendment, but also says he'd vote for a budget that would add to the debt because he might have to in order to accomplish things he wants to do. Without a voting record, it's hard to say what kind of Congressmember he'd be. Brown has said he is willing to join the ideologically conservative Freedom Caucus, and that he would vote for Jim Jordan, a Freedom Caucus leader, for speaker, which helps. 

6. Lee Bright. Bright is known as a hardcore conservative, and his voting record reflects that. He was a leader in the fight against the gas tax hike. For this, his conservative voting record and his "bathroom bill," liberal political forces loosely associated with the Chamber of Commerce and environmentalist groups spent over $100,000 defeating him in his Senate race. Part of this was because he sponsored a bathroom bill that protected private business' right to choose what kind of bathrooms they would have. The bill simply said that local governments could not vote to force gender neutral bathrooms on business owners, or force local business owners to allow men in women's bathrooms, but that business owners would still be free to make their bathrooms gender neutral if they chose. In otherwords, the bill said that choice could not be dictated by local government and would be left to the business owner. While Bright was widely criticized by the local news media and liberal groups for the bill, it falls in line with mainstream conservative and libertarian thinking.

Bright promises to join the highly conservative Freedom Caucus if elected, voted against every budget while in the state legislature because it contained wasteful spending and funding for Planned Parenthood and vows to vote against all amnesties, including DACA. 

Bright has received criticism for the hundreds of thousands of dollars he owes creditors after the failure of his trucking business during the recession. Short of that, I can't find much else to complain about with Bright. Some say he's been too conservative or too vocal about his conservatism. But the fact that he stuck to his conservative stances, even though he paid the cost, bodes well for his ability to resist the incredible pressures the liberal leadership will put on him to tow the line in Washington, pressure so many great conservatives have caved to once they moved to Washington. 

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