Bobby Harrell, Jr.

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Bobby Harrell, Jr.
Bobby Harrell.jpg
South Carolina House District 114
Incumbent
In office
1992 - Present
Term ends
November 10, 2014
Years in position 22
PartyRepublican
Leadership
Speaker of the SC State House
2005-Present
Chairman, Ways and Means Committee, SC House
1999-2005
Majority Leader, SC State House
1997-1999
Compensation
Base salary$10,400/year
Per diem$131/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected1992
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Education
High schoolMiddleton High School (1974)
Bachelor'sUniversity of South Carolina, 1978
Personal
BirthdayMarch 7, 1956
Place of birthOrangeburg, SC
ProfessionBusiness Owner
ReligionBaptist
Websites
Office website
CandidateVerification
Robert W. "Bobby" Harrell, Jr. is a Republican member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 114. He was first elected to the chamber in 1992. He was chair of the Freshmen Caucus in 1993. He served as Majority Leader from 1997 to 1999, and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee from 1999 to 2005, before becoming Speaker of the House on June 21, 2005.

Biography

Harrell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina in 1978. Prior to his election, Harrell served on the Highway 61 Commission from 1991 to 1992.

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Harrell served on the following committees:

South Carolina Committee Assignments, 2013
Operations and Management, Ex-officio member

2011-2012

In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Harrell did not serve on any committees.

Issues

Hydrogen funding

Harrell and then-Governor Mark Sanford (R) were at odds for much of the period since Harrell took over as Speaker in June 2005. Harrell blamed the state's high unemployment rate on Sanford's economic development strategy.[1] Sanford believed the way to grow jobs was through broad-based reforms that help all businesses such as eliminating the corporate income tax and providing for an optional flat tax. Harrell has preferred to rely on targeted incentives for businesses and industries.

Among Harrell's biggest focuses has been in the area of hydrogen and fuel cell research - claiming that "South Carolina is on the edge of what could become a multitrillion-dollar industry over the next 20 years - the beginning of a hydrogen revolution."[2] However, results have been spotty, according to the libertarian-leaning South Carolina Policy Council. More than $40 million in tax dollars have been invested in hydrogen research in the South Carolina Midlands alone, with the net result being the creation of a couple hundred jobs, according to the Speaker's Office.[3]

Elections

2014

See also: South Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2014

Elections for the office of South Carolina House of Representatives will consist of a primary election on June 10, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 30, 2014. Mary Tinkler is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Bobby Harrell, Jr. is unopposed in the Republican primary. Sue Edward is running as a Green Party candidate.[4]

2012

See also: South Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2012

Harrell was re-elected to the District 114 seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives in the 2012 election. Harrell ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 12 and defeated Larry Carter Center (G) and John Steinberger (I) in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.[5][6]

South Carolina House of Representatives, District 114, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBobby Harrell, Jr. Incumbent 73.9% 11,493
     Green Larry Carter Center 9.5% 1,473
     Independent John Steinberger 16.2% 2,512
     Other Write-Ins 0.5% 70
Total Votes 15,548

2010

See also: South Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2010

Harrell ran unopposed in the June 8 Republican primary for District 114 of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Harrell won, after running unopposed, in the general election on November 2.[7]

South Carolina House of Representatives, District 114 (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Bobby Harrell (R) 8,488 98.86%
Write-In 98 1.14%

2008

See also: South Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2008

On November 4, 2008, Harrell won re-election, after running unopposed, to the South Carolina House of Representatives with 12,940 votes, representing District 114.

Harrell raised $361,053 for his campaign.[8]

South Carolina House of Representatives, District 114 (2008)
Candidates Votes


Green check mark transparent.png Bobby Harrell, Jr. (R) 12,940

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Harrell is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Harrell raised a total of $1,920,154 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[9]

Bobby Harrell, Jr.'s Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $555,212
2010 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $217,812
2008 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $361,053
2006 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $258,584
2004 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $153,846
2002 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $103,740
2000 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $178,255
1998 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $56,124
1996 South Carolina State House, District 114 Won $35,528
Grand Total Raised $1,920,154

2012

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $555,212.

2010

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $217,812.

2008

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2008. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $361,053.

2006

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2006. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $258,584.

2004

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $153,846.

2002

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2002. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $103,740.

2000

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2000. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $178,255.

1998

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1998. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $56,124.

1996

Harrell won re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1996. During that election cycle, Harrell raised a total of $35,528.

Endorsements

Presidential preference

2012

See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Bobby Harrell, Jr. endorsed Newt Gingrich in the 2012 presidential election. [10]

Scorecards

The Palmetto Liberty PAC Scorecard

See also: The Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee's Legislative Score Card

The Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee, a conservative pro-limited government think tank in South Carolina, releases its Scorecard for South Carolina Representatives and Senators once a year. The Scorecard gives each a legislator a score based on how they voted in the two-year legislative term prior to the election on specific issues which the Palametto Liberty PAC thought were anti-limited government. "Most of the votes shown on the score card are votes that we lost. Now we can identify the Legislators that caused us to lose these votes. These Legislators are the ones who need to be replaced if we are to achieve the vision of having the most free state in the nation."[11]

2012

Bobby Harrell, Jr. received a score of 20% in the 2012 scorecard, ranking 57th out of all 124 South Carolina House of Representatives members.[12] His score was followed by representatives Jackie Hayes (20%), George Hearn (20%), and Bill Herbkersman (20%).[13]

Personal

Harrell and his wife Cathy have two children, Trey and Charlotte, and live in Charleston. Bobby served as a deacon at Westminster Presbyterian Church from 1991 to 1993, and he and Cathy are members of the First Baptist Church of Charleston. The Harrells operate a State Farm Insurance agency.[14][15]

Controversies

Campaign funds

According to a 2012 investigation by The Post and Courier, Harrell reimbursed himself $326,000 from his campaign funds but failed to keep accurate accounting of where the funds went. This documentation is required by the state to show that reimbursments are made only for political expenses, rather than personal purposes. The most controversial expenditures were related to Harrell's personal plane, which he claimed he only uses for "official legislative trips and politically related travel." Over the past five years, he had reimbursed himself $231,561 for travel costs.[16]

In response to these revelations, South Carolina Common Cause, the South Carolina Democratic Party, and the South Carolina Policy Council requested that Attorney General Alan Wilson formally investigate the matter. While many Republicans were silent on the issue or modestly supported Harrell, Rep. Ralph Norman (R) was more critical of the Speaker, saying "He's gonna have to go overboard now to explain why he hasn't provided this so far. This isn't something he can stonewall. There are enough people in the House that are gonna demand that he answer...You can't govern effectively if you're under this cloud of suspicion. How is he gonna make laws if he's not abiding by them?"[17]

On February 28, 2013, South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division confirmed that it had opened an investigation of Harrell as result of the South Carolina Policy Council's complaint. SLED's spokesman said they were "actively investigating" the case.[18] According to The Post and Courier, most legislators of both major parties did nothing to challenge the speaker over the allegations.[19]

Charleston conference

In August 2012, The Post and Courier of Charleston revealed that in September 2011, a dozen legislators used $10,000 in taxpayer funds for a conference held at the Charleston Place Hotel. Harrell, the event's official host, defended the expenditures, saying "the overall impact for the Charleston economy and the image of our community to leaders around the country was huge." Harrell's personal tab for his stay at the hotel came in at $1,519.[20]

Legislative salary

According to an October 2010 report by The Nerve, Harrell recorded salary and expenses of $128,406 for the 2.5-year period from Jan. 1, 2008, through mid 2010, making him the second-highest-compensated legislator in South Carolina during that period.[21]

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References

  1. SC Statehouse Blogs "Hydrogen Press Release," June 19, 2009
  2. http://mooreschool.sc.edu/moore/research/Publications/BandE/bande53/53n3/technology.html
  3. South Carolina Policy Council "Hydrogen Shortfalls"
  4. South Carolina State Election Commission, "2014 Election Information," accessed March 31, 2014
  5. South Carolina State Election Commission "2012 Candidates," accessed April 25, 2012
  6. AP.org "South Carolina State Senate and State House Election Results" Accessed November 7, 2012
  7. South Carolina general election results
  8. Follow the Money's report 2008 Campaign donations in South Carolina
  9. followthemoney.org, "Harrell Jr, Robert W," accessed July 11, 2013
  10. Newt Gingrich 2012, "South Carolina State House Speaker Endorses Newt Gingrich," January 19, 2012
  11. The Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee, "Voting Records," accessed April 11, 2014
  12. Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee: South Carolina House Scorecard 2012, accessed April 11, 2014
  13. Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee: South Carolina House Score Card 2012, 2012
  14. Campaign bio
  15. Project Vote Smart bio, accessed March 5, 2013
  16. Postandcourier.com "Harrell offers no details on self-reimbursement of $325,000 from campaign funds," accessed September 25, 2012
  17. Postandcourier.com "Answers sought from House Speaker Bobby Harrell on reimbursements," accessed September 25, 2012
  18. Jeremy Turnage, WISTV, "Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell now under SLED investigation," February 28, 2013
  19. Stephen Largen, The Post and Courier, "Harrell investigation highlights complex Statehouse politics," March 3, 2013
  20. The Augusta Chronicle "12 S.C. legislators stayed at Charleston Place during 5-day conference," accessed August 18, 2012
  21. Lawmakers Cost Taxpayers Millions, The Nerve, Oct. 6, 2010
Political offices
Preceded by
-
South Carolina House of Representatives District 114
1992–present
Succeeded by
NA