Finally -- South Carolina State Superintendent Race Over

The results of yesterday’s recount will be certified today by the Elections Commission, and pro-science candidate Jim Rex appears to have edged out ID advocate Karen Floyd by the narrowest of margins – 455 votes out of over 1 million cast. This is being called the closest general election result in South Carolina history. There is a strong chance that the Floyd campaign will protest the result (they have 5 days to do so), but this will be a last ditch desperation move. I don’t think I’m being premature in saying that, barring anything really weird, the race is over and Rex has won.

I would like to be able to say that Floyd’s anti-science posturing did her in, but that’s probably not the case. Her unpopular pro-voucher stance, combined with the fact that Rex was by far the more qualified candidate (Floyd has no educational experience), was most likely her undoing. Still, this is quite an achievement for Rex and a major blow to the Discovery Institute.

South Carolina prides itself on marching to the beat of a different drummer, and last Tuesday was no exception. While Democrats were winning across the country, Republicans were sweeping offices in SC. It appeared that the State Superintendent race would be no different; nearly every poll prior to the election had Floyd up by a healthy margin (polls for such “down ballot” races must be taken with a grain of salt, of course) and she had a huge financial lead, thanks in large part to gobs of money from an out-of-state voucher advocate who used dummy corporations to skirt campaign finance laws. But she still lost.

This appears to be the last in a series of massive blows to the Discovery Institute’s political agenda, especially given that South Carolina has been a major focus of theirs. Earlier this year, the state Board of Education rejected DI-backed pro-creationism language in the state curriculum standards (which of course prompted the DI to declare victory based on one obscure line that had been added to the standards during a previous year and was not up for consideration). It seems that they can get no traction at all, not even in South Carolina. Maybe they should just give it up already.