On Monday, The Daily Caller published a piece by activist Yates Walker extolling the conservative character of Curtis Bostic, who will face former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford on April 2 in the Republican runoff to represent South Carolina’s First Congressional District. Walker asserts Bostic is running as the anti-Mark Sanford, “because Mark Sanford doesn’t represent Curtis Bostic’s values, nor the values of the Republican Party.”
While that’s certainly possible, it’s worth examining their relevant political records.
Last week’s SC-1 GOP primary field was crowded, with 16 candidates. Nearly all made spending their top priority — and Sanford and Bostic were no exceptions. Bostic has taken this theme so far that he is using “Stop Spending” as his campaign slogan and “StopSpending.com” as the URL for his campaign website.
But how committed to cutting spending is Curtis Bostic, really? Prior to the primary, we at the Coalition to Reduce Spending, along with area voters, approached all 19 SC-1 candidates — the 16 Republicans, plus 2 Democrats and 1 Green — to sign the Reject the Debt spending pledge.
Almost all the candidates signed without hesitation. Fourteen Republicans responded to requests from us and from voters to declare in writing that they take spending seriously. In fact, even Democrat Ben Frasier, the SC-1 Democratic nominee in 2010, signed Reject the Debt. (See the list of South Carolina signatories here.)
Bostic was one of only two Republican holdouts, and we still haven’t gotten a clear answer as to why.
Our pledge is very simple. It states:
I, [candidate name], pledge to the citizens of my state and to the American people that, except when related to a congressional authorization of force, I will:
ONE, consider all spending open for reduction and vote only for budgets that present a path to balance; and
TWO, vote against any appropriations bill that increases total spending and against the authorization or funding of new programs without offsetting cuts in other programs.
The goal of this pledge is simply to put candidates on the record on the issue of spending. It gives voters clear statements by which to hold candidates and officials accountable to their promises.
Bostic and Sanford are both right that federal spending and our accelerating national debt are the issue of our times. But there are words and there are deeds. South Carolina voters should be certain not to overlook Bostic’s unwillingness to go on-the-record on spending, as Sanford has done, or the general lack of detail in Bostic’s platform about where potential cuts should occur.
Although it might be tempting to dismiss Sanford because of his personal indiscretions and support Bostic instead, personal issues are far from the most important in this race. Politicians must be held accountable for their stump speeches and campaign promises, especially when it comes to these critical fiscal issues.
So far, no matter his character, Curtis Bostic has failed to live up to a pretty reasonable request and expectation: simple accountability.
Jonathan Bydlak is the president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to limiting federal spending.