Just a change of conservativeBy
COLUMBIA — Voters fired a backlash against Statehouse incumbents in runoff elections Tuesday as a string of veteran lawmakers were tossed out of office, including controversial Spartanburg County Republican Sen. Lee Bright, who made gender bathrooms and defense of gun rights a cornerstone of his last months in office.
Bright, who is also known for his failed bills to track refugees resettling in South Carolina and to limit which bathrooms transgender individuals can use, lost to former state Rep. Scott Talley, a favorite of both Gov. Nikki Haley and the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. Both had been critical of Bright’s over-the-top stances.
“The results are clear: the majority of the people two weeks ago and again tonight wanted new conservative leadership in Columbia,” the Chamber statement said after Bright’s 52 to 48 percent loss to Talley. “The business community looks forward to working with Sen. Scott Talley.”
Librul is still a slur in South Carolina. So obviously, the remedy for over-the-top, xenophobic, gay- and transgender-hating leadership that’s bad for the Chamber’s bidness isn’t a change of heart, just a change of conservative.
Perhaps Spartanburg County has been watching what’s happening over the border in “hipster haven” Asheville, NC where local independent bookseller Emoke B’Racz is feeling the economic impact of HB2 — that’s HB2 the North Carolina “bathroom bill,” not the just-overturned HB2 Texas abortion clinic bill. Malaprop’s bookstore is feeling the bite:
Out-of-town visitors are essential to her business. But after HB2, sales slumped in April, and again in May, “at a time when they’re up for other independent bookstores,” says B’Racz. “Our business is off on a day-to-day basis.”
Tourists who couldn’t cancel their trips would walk into Malaprop’s and other shops in town and announce that they weren’t spending money.
If there’s one thing South Carolina Republicans understand, it’s money.
More than $1 million in hotel bookings have been canceled due to HB2, according to the visitors bureau, and business owners such as B’Racz worry about the vital summer season, which is Christmas in terms of sales for this town of 88,000.
Filmmaker Erin Derham had $1.1 million in pledged funding yanked by a tech company that didn’t want to do business in North Carolina. “It was pretty abrupt,” she says. “Everyone stopped answering my emails.”
Can’t have that sort of thing happening in South Carolina, though. I mean, they took down the Confederate flag and all. Once it was clear it was bad for business.
(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)