Indivisible Midlands is holding an event this afternoon to endorse S.C. Rep. James Smith in the South Carolina Democratic primary for governor. And last week, the South Carolina Progressive Network also backed Smith — its first gubernatorial endorsement in the organization’s 22 years in existence.
In doing so, the progressive groups — one venerable, one new — threw in their lot with the most establishment candidate in the Democratic race: a 22-year veteran of the General Assembly.
In the case of the Progressive Network, Smith’s establishment cred is part of the point — because they think it means he can win in November.
“The Network has endorsed James Smith because he is the only candidate who combines the vision, commitment, and, most importantly, experience to work with the Republican-dominated Legislature — and can win the general election,” the group said in a release. “These challenging times are an historic opportunity to stop our state's race to the bottom.”
Indivisible Midlands also emphasizes Smith’s long experience in the General Assembly.
“James Smith’s history of honorable service to our country and in the S.C. General Assembly, is exactly the kind of change that we need in a governor,” said Kim Baker, a co-chair of the group, in a release.
Smith’s rivals, Phil Noble and Marguerite Willis, have floated plenty of progressive ideas, from Willis’ proposal to extend the school day to support working parents to Noble’s populist rants against SCE&G’s relationship with the legislative power structure.
The few polls done in the race have showed Noble and Smith running near each other, with Willis close behind and plenty of undecideds.
But when it comes to endorsements, Smith is cleaning up. He’s won support from issues-based organizations like Planned Parenthood’s political arm and Conservation Voters of SC. And with the latest two announcements, he finds support in explicitly grassroots, activist-based nonpartisan but left-leaning organizations.
The Progressive Network says Smith “ has been a staunch ally and advocate for the Network” since it was founded, and cites his support for two key priorities of theirs: independent redistricting reform, and “a moral state budget that prioritizes funding of critical public services over corporate tax subsidies.”
As for Indivisible Midlands, which was formed in the wake of Trump’s election, it said Smith would help work to “create a state government that prioritizes affordable health care, quality public education, fair wages, and clean land, air and water for all people.”
Smith and Indivisible Midlands are appearing together this afternoon for an endorsement announcement at The Local Buzz.
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