In what could be one of the shortest reigns since William Henry Harrison, it looks like Florence County Councilman Ken Ard could be stepping down from the chairmanship of the Florence County Republican Party after only holding it for just over a month. Why? Apparently...because he could be moving on.
It has not exactly been a well-kept secret: Ard is set to announce he is making a run at being the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor here in South Carolina. Although its been quietly-out around town for several weeks, it looks like Ard is going to make it official this Friday.
SC6 had a post on Tuesday discussing that the PDR folks were spreading word that there would be "a major announcement coming from Florence on Friday at lunchtime, and again in Columbia later that afternoon." Since he's a loyal Republican, Reino decided against relaying what the announcement was, which I can appreciate. I, however, am beholden to no such loyalty. Several active Republicans have confirmed that Ard is going to run and if the crowd at the Sheheen breakfast was any indication, it's even common knowledge amongst the enemy. It makes sense that Ard would announce Friday and then spend the weekend campaigning amongst the troops in Columbia at the Silver Elephant dinner. (I, of course, reserve the right to be completely wrong. They could simply be announcing that their next tea party will be sponsored by Lipton).
So what are Ard's chances? I have no idea. I really don't know Ken. He seems like a nice enough fella. He comes from a great family out of Pamplico, South Cackilack. His father used to host a kick-ass dove shoot every year and his uncle built my first skateboard ramp, so he's got that going for him. I can respect that he took it upon himself to help lead a charge to change the leadership of the county GOP party. For all intensive purposes, there has really been no local Republican party for years. At least not one that has any real say over who runs or anything of import. From all I have heard, he has been a good county councilman and served diligently. I do wonder what his name-recognition is beyond the Florence County area. If he just told folks to vote for the Double A body-builders guy, that could go a long way in solving any name-rec problems--their trucks are all over.
Right now, I don't know of any other Republican who has announced they are running for this office. As I posted last month, the race could come down to a battle of Florentines. If that was his opposition in a general, I'd like Ard's chances. Then again, if the Democrats in this state actually nominate someone who gave money to both Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush, they have learned absolutely nothing and deserve to lose.
*I say Ard will step down from his chairmanship, because I am assuming he will step down to focus on this campaign, but maybe that's not the case. Hell...his candidacy may mean he has to step down under the rules, once again, I have no idea. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Ard can do in a state-wide race. Regardless of how it shakes out, I feel pretty damn confident his next election will be a little closer than the one he won last month...
**Late Update: Reino reports that Ard went ahead and announced to the faithful at the Florence County meeting last night that he was running and he had resigned his chairmanship of the county party.