News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012
AIKEN, S.C. -- The race for South Carolina House District 86 is heating up. The district includes two-thirds of Aiken County, including parts of Aiken, Wagener, Couchton, Montmorenci, Salley, Perry, Ridge Spring and New Ellenton.
"When I first ran for office, I said I'd run with a strong voice and an effective leadership. I've done that,” said Republican Rep. Bill Taylor, who is finishing off his first term in the office and is hoping for a second.
"I was approached by a lot of the citizens and voters of District 86, and they were very disappointed with the fact there was no opposition to Bill Taylor,” said David Lobb, who’s vying for the seat as an Independent write-in candidate.
Lobb has an extensive military career, which includes 30 years in the U.S. Army. He is also the current vice president for legislative affairs for the Military Officers Association of America. Lobb also serves on the South Carolina Veterans Advocacy Council.
Just a couple of months ago after the primary, Lobb decided to face Taylor as an Independent.
"People like the idea that you're independent. They are not sold on being a Republican or Democrat,” Lobb said.
Taylor says Lobb was vice chairman of Aiken County’s Republican Club, until he tried an unsuccessful attempt to become chairman. Taylor says, now, Lobb is just looking for votes wherever he can find them.
"Last Sunday, the Democratic Party of Aiken County endorsed him, so I guess, today, they're calling him 'Democrat Dave,'" said Taylor mockingly.
Taylor provided News 12 a copy of the written letter typed out by the Aiken County Democratic Party, which read, “While we don’t agree with all of [Lobb’s] positions, we believe he would listen to our concerns and would promote legislation that would benefit the citizens of Aiken County and the State of South Carolina.”
Lobb says he hasn’t seen a written copy of the endorsement.
“But if you are a Democrat, and you have a choice of voting for an independent or a Republican, I would be the logical choice,” he said.
Taylor points to what he calls his legislative report card. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce gives Taylor a 100 percent. The S.C. BIPEC also gives him a 100 percent, along with the S.C. Palmetto Family Alliance. The National Rifle Association gives him an A.
However, Lobb points out the one-term representative failed to pass any legislation.
"He put four bills forward. Two bills involved putting names on road signs. They didn't pass,” he said, continuing that a bill for the Fair Tax and another strengthening freedom of information failed, too.
Taylor says he'll fight again for tax reform and resubmit a bill to strengthen your access to public information. He also hopes to give grandparents legal standing in court, and he's proposing legislation to fight puppy mills. But he says finding solutions for and assisting constituents with other services is most rewarding. He says next year, the legislature will pass a bill establishing a Department of Administration, and he says they’ll also work to ensure candidates are never kicked off ballots again.
As for Lobb, he says he’ll go to the Statehouse with a "reform" mindset. He says he’ll tackle the problems with the Budget Control Board, replacing it with a Department of Administration. He says the first bill he’ll submit to the House will reform House and Senate ethics. He wants members of the House and Senate to answer to the State. He doesn't want them to police themselves any longer. He says he believes in tax incentives to attract businesses and jobs, but he wants to see cost-benefit analyses before agreeing to the deals. He says he’ll fight over-burdensome regulations stifling small business growth, and he’ll also improve education by making sure more money makes its way to the classroom.