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Dec 102012

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Tim Scott tops the list of candidates Republicans expect to see in South Carolina’s Senate seat this spring, but at least one poll found voters holding out hope for a wholly different personality.

Automated phone pollster Public Policy Polling released a poll Monday saying comedian Stephen Colbert is South Carolina’s favorite to take Jim DeMint’s seat in the Senate.

Rumors about Colbert’s candidacy for the spot circulated last week when a Twitter account with the handle @ColbertforSC cropped up, amassing more than 3,000 followers in its first day of existence.

On his show Thursday, Colbert added fuel to the fire by suggesting fans tweet to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, telling her why Colbert should be South Carolina’s next senator.

But @ColbertforSC, which says it is not affiliated with the comedian or his show on its website, fell silent over the weekend, without explanation.

Perhaps it’s because Haley put what would seem to be an end to the comedian’s campaign Friday with a post on Facebook, declaring Colbert made a “big, big mistake” when he forgot South Carolina’s state drink while interviewing on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”

But soon after Monday’s poll was released, @ColbertforSC started up again.

Next behind Colbert in the poll was Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the man who South Carolina Republican sources say is a favorite among the people of the state.  ABC News reported Scott was most likely to take fellow Tea Party Republican DeMint’s spot after DeMint announced he was leaving the Senate to lead conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation.

Scott would be a unique pick for South Carolina, because he would be the first African-American senator from the Southern state, appointed by an Indian-American governor, no less.

South Carolinian newspaper The State suggested Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Trey Gowdy might also have a shot at the seat. They received five percent and 12 percent of voters polled respectively in the PPP survey. Another well-known name on that list was Mark Sanford — the former S.C. governor who lied about hiking the Appalachian trail to visit his extramarital lover in Argentina. His wife, Jenny Sanford, was on the list, too, and beat her husband among South Carolinians polled.

But ultimately, the choice will be up to Haley, and she’s not ready to throw it away.

“As I continue to consider the impending Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a ‘placeholder’ appointee who would pledge to serve for only two years and not seek election to the seat in 2014,” Haley wrote in a statement released Monday. “While there are some good arguments in favor of that approach, I believe the better case is against it.”

The South Carolinian governor said she wanted a senator who would, “work hard day in and day out,” without worrying about an approaching election.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Dec 072012

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley may have brought Stephen Colbert’s Senate candidacy to a halt with the click of a button.

Rumors that the comedian was seeking the Senate spot left open by Sen. Jim DeMint’s departure circulated Thursday, after a Twitter account with the handle @ColbertforSC cropped up. Within a day, the account had more than 3,000 followers.

Just after noon on Friday, Gov. Haley made a post on Facebook that left little hope for Colbert.

“Stephen, thank you for your interest in South Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat and for the thousands of tweets you and your fans sent me. But you forget one thing, my friend. You didn’t know our state drink. Big, big mistake,” Haley wrote, linking to a clip of her appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” in which Colbert forgot the state drink was milk.

Many in the Twitterverse were excited about a possible Senator Colbert. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean even tweeted his endorsement.

But the authenticity of the Colbert account was questionable. The Twitter bio linked to a site that said it was not affiliated with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert. And Colbert’s spokespeople never outright owned up to creating it.

“Now folks, I’m not going to sit here and say, I should be South Carolina’s next senator,” Colbert told his audience on “The Colbert Report” Thursday night. “Not when so many other people are saying it for me.”

Colbert encouraged viewers to tweet the South Carolina governor reasons she should appoint him to the U.S. Senate. Many did just that, even after the governor posted her Facebook denial.

“Hey @nikkihaley to be fair milk is super boring — moonshine would probably be more apropos for S Carolina,” @JasonKerepesi tweeted Friday afternoon. “Appoint Stephen!!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Dec 072012

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Is Stephen Colbert seeking Jim DeMint’s Senate seat in South Carolina?

You might think so looking at the @ColbertForSC Twitter account, created Thursday, shortly after DeMint announced his intent to resign and take a position at the Heritage Foundation.

The Twitter account featured a photo of the comedian saluting on a background of an American flag.  Its first tweets Thursday were all facts about the state, including the state butterfly and state horse.

The tone matched Colbert’s usual snark, entitlement and knack for referencing hilarious moments in political history.

“Nation!” @ColbertForSC tweeted.  “I want to get this out of the way early.  I’m not a witch.  I’m you.  We clear, people?”

But in the Twitter bio, it linked to, a website that said it was a draft petition “not affiliated with Stephen Colbert.”

A Colbert candidacy might not be as far-fetched as it seems.

“Stephen is honored by the groundswell of support from the Palmetto State and looks forward to [South Carolina] Gov. Haley’s call,” Colbert spokesperson Carrie Byalick told ABC News.

Anyone hoping for a spot in the Senate representing South Carolina has to be a resident of the state.  Colbert is known to live with his wife and children in New Jersey, but both he and wife, Evelyn, hail from Charleston, S.C.  A house there is listed in the White Pages under his wife’s name with the qualifier, “Guest House.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Nov 182012

Anderson County Sheriff”s Department(ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C.) — Authorities in South Carolina have arrested a man on murder charges after two bodies were found stuffed into barrels and discarded in a lake.

John Michael Young, 35, was taken into custody shortly after midnight Saturday by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office on two counts of murder. On Friday, investigators searched his home, taking away chainsaws and machetes.

The victims were identified as Tony McGinnis, 52, and Andrea Mitchell, 37, who deputies believe were killed in September and October, respectively.

Deputies said Young delivered fatal blows to his victims’ heads while in the woods near his home.

The first body, Mitchell’s, was stuffed into a metal barrel and recovered on Wednesday. Investigators found another metal barrel with McGinnis’ body inside on Thursday.

A second man, Shaine David Fischer, has also been implicated in the case as an accessory after the fact to murder.

It was not known whether either man had an attorney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Oct 152012

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Opponents of strict voter ID laws have had a good run in the courts recently.

In the past few months, federal and state judges have used different legal grounds to block voter ID laws from going into effect during the next election in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

On Oct. 10, a federal court blocked South Carolina’s law for the next election.

But in many cases, the rulings are only temporary halts or are subject to appeal. In fact, in the case of South Carolina, the court is allowing that law to go into effect in 2013.

Opponents of strict voter ID laws fear that the battle is just beginning.

“Since 2011, there have been a slew of new restrictive voter ID laws that have the potential to disenfranchise millions of eligible voters,” said Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, director of Voter Protection for Advancement, a group involved in challenges in several of the states. “We’ve fought back and won against the most restrictive being put in effect before this election. But we are still extremely concerned.”

She is worried about states appealing injunctions and other states passing new laws.

“Our nation’s great debate and controversy over voter ID laws will continue,” she said. “We need to keep on fighting and winning.”

Thirty-one states have requirements for all eligible voters to show identification prior to casting a ballot in the upcoming election, but the acceptable forms of documentation vary. Some states are satisfied if a voter brings in a recent utility bill. Others insist on government-issued photo identification.

The more strict photo ID laws have been passed by Republican legislatures that argue they are meant to combat voter impersonation at a polling place. Democrats argue there is no real problem with voter fraud and the real goal of the laws is to suppress the votes of the poor or the elderly who might have difficulty obtaining the necessary identification.

“Some Republican legislatures just got too greedy,” said Daniel P. Tokaji of Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. “They passed very strict laws that were clearly designed to depress turnout. There wasn’t much of a credible reason offered for some of these laws and the courts called them on it. The courts smelled a rat.”

But Carrie Severino of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network said that the judges, in some cases, were concerned with the proximity of the next election and wanted to make sure the eventual rollout of the new laws would go smoothly.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio