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We can do it in SC too.

Doug Jones is a personal friend of mine, and I cannot be happier for him or more inspired by his victory.

His win in Alabama last night proves that when we’re motivated, working together, and standing up for each other, we can win.

Even as a Democrat, and in Doug’s case, a fairly Progressive one at that.

Please help make South Carolina the next state to turn blue: Contribute here today.

Here in South Carolina, we have systematic corruption and yes, some of the same bigotry that Roy Moore represented. I am confident voters in this state are tired of it all… and ready to abandon the policies that have led us backwards for generations.

Virginia and Alabama are just the beginnings of this wave. We will crest it and by next year, restore some degree of dignity back to our state and Federal government.

Thank you for standing with me. Please donate here today.

– Phil

The State: Courting Republicans or trying not to be one? Democrats make the case for SC governor

The self-proclaimed underdog in the Democratic race for S.C. governor pledges not to run the same “dull and boring, Republican-like campaign” that he says Democrats always run. “And they lose.”

The underdog’s big obstacle? A state lawmaker and combat veteran who is the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination. He says he wants to transcend political divisiveness and unify the state: “rural, urban, Democrats and Republicans.”

The two candidates – Charleston business consultant Phil Noble and state Rep. James Smith of Columbia – addressed their party’s most loyal members Friday night at a S.C. Democratic Party gathering in Columbia to kick off their conference weekend.

Speaking briefly during the dinner, both Smith and James harped on a need to root out corruption at the State House.

“I see a South Carolina like she can be and I ask, ‘Why not?’” Smith said, adding, “We all know why. Because we’ve had leaders serving themselves and not South Carolina.”

Noble said he would lead by example, rejecting money from influential political action committees: “If there’s a candidate, Democrat or Republican, who stands up before you and says, ‘I’m concerned about corruption,’ ask him a question, or ask him two: ‘Are you going to take PAC money, or are you going to give it back?’”

Fighting for a prize that has eluded Democrats for two decades – Jim Hodges was the last Democrat to be elected governor, in 1998 – Smith and Noble are laying out different strategies.

Smith, 50, says South Carolinians “want leaders that will rise above the petty politics that are holding us back and focus on the issues that matter and make a difference in our state.

“We need a governor who can bring this state together,” Smith said, adding such a leader will get the entire state involved regardless of place or party.

Noble, 66, says the state’s Democratic candidates for governor lose because they take the same approach in every campaign – a trend he hopes to break.

“The State House guys get together, they pick one of their own – perfectly nice guy, everybody likes him, good legislative record – and then they run a campaign with no bold ideas … a ‘Me, Too’ Republican-lite (campaign) and then they get beat.”

No PAC money

One way Noble says he is unique is in his pledge to reject money from political action committees that allow companies, advocacy groups, trade associations and others to influence the outcome of elections.

Ending PAC contributions is a first step in getting special interest money out of politics, said the former president of the S.C. New Democrats and a failed 1994 lieutenant governor hopeful.

“At the end of the day, I would say nobody should be able to give anybody any money unless they can vote for them,” Noble said.

That standard would bar out-of-state and business contributions, both now legal.

“That ain’t gonna happen,” Noble conceded. “We’re miles away from that. But, as a first step, we need to get away from PACs.”

The political committees allow lobbyists to tell a lawmaker, “We want you to do X, Y, Z for us, and then the PAC money shows up,” Noble said.

Asked whether he, too, will reject contributions from political action committees, Smith did not jump on board with the idea.

“I’m not running against Phil Noble. I’m running for South Carolina. He has his ideas on how to lead the state forward, and I have mine,” Smith said, adding he has “a record to stand on. I certainly stand by my service the last several years and can respond to any question about any donations I’ve received.”

‘Outsider’ or ‘change agent’?

First elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1996, Smith has long been on the short list of Democratic Party favorites for governor. The Columbia attorney says taxes, health care and education are his top priorities.

As part of his tax reform proposals, Smith said he wants to create a statewide property tax rate to pay for public education. That would ensure that businesses and owners of second homes in impoverished areas do not shoulder higher tax burdens than elsewhere in the state, as they do now, he said.

An Afghanistan War combat veteran and member of the S.C. Army National Guard, Smith also said he wants to cut the tax bills of military veterans by eliminating the state income tax on their retirement pay.

Veterans “are a powerful workforce and a huge impact on the communities that they become a part of,” said Smith, whose military experience could help him pick up support from moderate Republicans in the pro-military Palmetto State.

Running on an anti-corruption message, Noble said state government can’t fix anything – roads, education or an ongoing nuclear plant fiasco – until new lawmakers, who are not part of the establishment that oversaw those problems, are elected.

Noble said his candidacy gives Democratic voters a choice between an outsider, himself, or someone who is part of the system, Smith.

“James is a good guy. Everybody likes James. The last thing I want is for this thing to be personal,” he said.

“It’s about the system. And James is a part of the system, (has) been a part of the system for 20 years, and, I would argue, has not effectively tackled or changed or challenged the system in the most fundamental areas.”

Noble said those areas include an ongoing State House corruption investigation and the lax regulation of power companies that allowed Cayce-based SCANA and state-owned Santee Cooper to charge their customers more than $2 billion for a now-abandoned nuclear power project.

In response, Smith’s spokesman said, “James Smith is a proven leader, exemplified by his service to his country, state and nation. I would point you to (S.C.) Gov. (Dick) Riley’s endorsement of James, when he said, ‘James is the change agent we need.’ ”

Healthy competition

Neither Noble nor Smith have released details about their fundraising efforts. The next campaign finance reports are due in January.

However, Smith said fundraising has been going well. He has events in Charleston on Wednesday night, more fundraisers coming next week and more offers to host events than the campaign has time to attend.

Smith said he looks forward to speaking about “a shared vision for South Carolina’s future,” he said. “We have this belief, and I know, that we have not realized our potential. Our best days are ahead of us.”

Smith also is shoring up his support among the state’s most well-known Democrats. He has won the endorsements of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, and former Democratic S.C. Govs. Dick Riley and Hodges, among others.

Noble said he expects Smith to raise and spend the most money in the campaign. But he hopes to give voters something different from what they have gotten in past Democratic candidates.

“I’m not dull, I hope, or boring, I hope. I’m not State House. I’m not lining up all the traditional endorsements, and I’m not getting all the traditional money,” Noble said. “I am going to run a different campaign.”

The competition will be good for the S.C. Democratic Party, said state Chair Trav Robertson.

The campaign to win the party’s June primary will rally activists and ensure the media pays attention to the Democratic debate while the crowded Republican field battles it out.

“It levels the playing field” for the state’s minority party, he said.

By Jamie Self

Read more here.

Press Release: Noble: Too Little, Too Late: Entire Santee Cooper Board Should be Fired, Special Prosecutor Appointed

(Charleston, SC – December 11, 2017) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Noble says Governor Henry McMaster is dragging his feet on restoring confidence in Santee Cooper in the wake of a massive scandal that has jeopardized the future capacity of the state’s power grid and cost South Carolinians billions.

“The entire Board needs to go, and a special prosecutor with broad investigatory powers appointed,” Noble said. “Having an ethically-challenged governor investigate a scandal-ridden agency for its role in the biggest corporate crime in state history does not exactly inspire optimism.”

Noble said that corporate officials of SCANA and executives at Santee Cooper should at least return their pay and bonuses since they first found out the V.C. Summer nuclear station project was in trouble. Noble said McMaster’s current feud with Santee Cooper Chairman Leighton Lord is little more than a “hissing contest between the Trump and Bannon wings of the state Republican Party.”

The collapse of the nuclear project resulted in the loss of nearly 6,000 jobs at a cost to customers and taxpayers of at least $9 billion.

Press Release: Democrat Phil Noble Calls for End of PACs To Fight Corruption

Challenges Opponents to Stop Taking Special Interest Money

(Kiawah Island, SC) – Today at the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Gubernatorial Candidate Forum, Democratic candidate Phil Noble called for an end to state political action committees (PACs) and challenged the other candidates to follow his lead.

In his remarks to the Chamber, Noble said, “Two years ago after the Emanuel Nine shooting, the Chamber led the effort to take down the Confederate flag from the statehouse. I’m asking the Chamber to show this same bold leadership today and close their PAC and encourage other business organizations to the do the same.”

Citing the ongoing statehouse corruption scandal, the related nuclear scandal and the millions spent by PACs on political contributions, Noble said, “There is a disease of corruption in the statehouse and it is contagious, infectious and its spreading. PACs are a big part of this corruption and we should end them today.”

Noble said that he was the only candidate, Democrat or Republican who has refused PAC money. “I know that this puts me at a disadvantage in the campaign but a leader should lead and I’m leading on this and I hope that other candidates will follow”, said Noble. “It’s the right thing to do for our state.”

Talking with members of the media after the Forum, Noble outlined two reforms he believes are essential to restoring integrity to the state legislature and the Governor’s office:

  1. No office holder who takes PAC money should be part of any investigation or decision making affecting organizations related to the PAC.
  2. If you take money from a PAC, you should be forced to recuse yourself from any vote that affects the organization affiliated with the PAC.

Noble cited the example of the current statehouse utilities investigation saying, “There are 32 members of the Legislature on committees investigating the utilities scandal and news report show that every one of them took campaign money from utilities. That’s a clear conflict of interest.”

Campaign Update: Making Waves and Making Progress

Since I announced last month, we’ve been making waves and making progress!

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

First and foremost, we have established our candidacy as the one true Democratic independent reformer – determined to fight the corrupt statehouse crowd that is giving us broken and dysfunctional politics.

Second, we have refused to accept political action committee (PAC) money that is corrupting our politics. I’m the only candidate – Democrat or Republican – who has refused PAC money.

Third, we called for the Attorney General to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate SCE&G, Santee Cooper and the legislature about the $9 billion nuclear scandal to determine if laws have been broken – and send people to jail if they have.

Fourth, we took a bold stand on health care reform and demanded that Gov. McMaster accept the federal Medicaid funds to provide decent health care for over 123,000 South Carolinians who do not have it now.

Fifth, we launched a petition challenging members of the legislature to return the contributions they have received from the utility companies. Only four members – two Democrats and two Republicans – have done so. I’m not going to stop demanding big change and real reform until South Carolina taxpayers get their money back and their rates lowered, and those that are responsible for this mess (including our placid and sometimes corrupt legislators) are held responsible.

The campaign itself has been going very well. After the launch, we’ve had some great events, and I’ve gotten enormous support from people all over this state who are dissatisfied with corrupt statehouse politics and are ready for reform.

I am not the candidate of the Democratic establishment – they will provide big endorsements and big money to elect someone else.
I’m the underdog but I’m getting great grassroots support because Democrats are simply tired of losing, time after time, with the same kinds of candidates. They want someone that isn’t beholden to special interests and PACs or to the standard lobbyist-derived money sources that have controlled our politics for too long.

We’re getting positive media coverage and I know that as we move forward our message of reform and accountability will resonate among voters who clearly feel both are needed.

I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity. If you can make a donation here today, I’d be grateful.

– Phil

SC Court Sentences our Children to a Lifetime of Ignorance

The South Carolina Supreme Court has just issued a decision about the education reform case, also known as the Abbeville case, that is so bad it is hard to overstate its severity.

It is cruel, heartless and wrong and will sentence our children to a lifetime of ignorance unless we elect a governor committed to fixing it.

Here is what happened and why it is so bad:

In 1993, 40 of the state’s poorest school districts with the worst performing schools sued the state to get adequate funding to improve their schools. Because the first school district on the alphabetized list was Abbeville, it became known as the Abbeville Case. And, because the schools were all generally in one region of the state, they become known as the “Corridor of Shame” schools.

In 2014, after 21 years of legal wrangling, the SC Supreme Court ruled – by a 3-2 vote – that the schools were not ‘minimally adequate’. They told the legislature to fix the schools but did not specify how or a timetable.

Since 2014, the legislature has done practically nothing on the issue. They delayed action, knowing well that two of the Supreme Court Justices that voted for the schools were to retire soon, and so that they could appoint new justices likely to be favorable to continued inaction that would oppose the reforms.

That is exactly what happened.

In Tuesday’s decision, the SC Supreme Court essentially said ‘we don’t care if we sentence our children to ignorance in a failing school’s system.’

It’s the worst kind of evil… couched in law.

It doesn’t have to be this way – you can do something:

The other candidates for Governor are part of the same machine that let this happen. And so far, they’re characteristically quiet about this topic.

It’s if they are saying, “we don’t care about our children and their future.”

Well, I do and I know you do too… and that’s why I’m asking for your help in fighting for our children and their future.

Please, send a donation now – so I can continue my campaign for governor and continue our fight for our children.

No, Ms. Templeton. Bannon does not speak for us.

Catherine Templeton says Steve Bannon speaks for the people of South Carolina. With respect, he does not and never will.

Bannon appeals to the worst instincts of our state and nation. This is a man who refers to himself as Satan and Darth Vader. Ms. Templeton, by aligning yourself with him, you are embracing the dark heart of fear and prejudice that has divided our state’s politics almost from the beginning.

Neo-Nazis do not speak for South Carolina. Racists do not speak for South Carolina. Steve Bannon has given both of them platforms through which their hatred for American values has gone mainstream.

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Have you seen your 2018 health care costs?

Thanks to Donald Trump and Henry McMaster, health care for South Carolinians will cost more in 2018 than ever before.

Trump’s erratic attacks on the Affordable Care Act have resulted in a staggering loss of competition in all health insurance markets in South Carolina. That, in turn, has driven up monthly premiums for everyone. Some of us will see increases of more than 30%.

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Press Release: Utility Campaign Contributions To Charity

Charleston, SC – Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Phil Noble today, called for all elected officials in the Statehouse who received donations from SCE&G or the Co-ops to give those monies to charity and also launched an online petition to gather support.

According to news reports, all 32 members of the special House and Senate committees looking into the nuclear debacle are compromised by their campaign contributions from the utilities. The Co-ops and SCANA are considered to be among the top ten biggest lobbying organizations in the state and in recent years have given millions of dollars in campaign contributions to statehouse politicians in both parties.

“It’s like asking Colonel Sanders to guard the chicken house,” Noble said. “These investigations are a carefully orchestrated charade by the Statehouse crowd to make the public think they are doing something, after years of looking the other way. It appears this so-called investigation is turning out to be more of a political whitewash than a real investigation.”

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Press Release: Statement on Lobbyists Indictments

In his announcement to run for governor last Wednesday, Phil Noble said, “Too many of our State House politicians have been infected with the contagious disease of corruption. Its symptoms have not just contaminated the halls of our State House but have spread thoughout our state, and stopped us from becoming the state that we were meant to be.”

Noble was right then, and today’s news proves he is right again – and it will continue to get worse.

In reaction to today’s new indictments, Noble said, “We are only at the beginning of the beginning of this corruption scandal. I expect many more indictments and the numbers I hear are that another 10 to 15 more legislators may be indicted. Who knows where this will end?”

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