A third-party candidate who rankled Democrats in 2010 when he took about 2 percent of the statewide vote in a close governor’s race is exploring whether he’ll run again.
Morgan Bruce Reeves, who runs a land-clearing business in Irmo, appeared twice on the ballot in 2010 as a fusion candidate who snared the nomination of both the Green Party and United Citizens Party. He received more than 20,000 votes.
Reeves signaled his intentions during a March 14 meeting at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia where he was a speaker about issues related to the state Department of Transportation.
“I’m going to be exploring my chances for [the] 2014 governor’s race,” he told Free Times earlier that day. Later, speaking by phone from a trip to Walmart, Reeves said he has a different strategy for 2014, but declined to go into details.
“It’s going to be a surprise,” he said, indicating he might choose to run in one of the two major parties’ primaries. He said he’s been talking to people with a lot of money as he scouts around for a good campaign manager.
Reeves said raising the state minimum wage might be one of his campaign planks.
“I really think that I’m a great visionary,” he said. “I think I would do a good job as a governor.”
Reeves was a colorful candidate three years ago when he took on Republican Nikki Haley and Democrat Vincent Sheheen. Haley squeaked out the election by roughly 60,000 votes. During his campaign, Reeves often complained he felt left out of media coverage.
“I want my big, silverback gorilla face on the front page of your paper,” Reeves told Free Times several times during his campaign.
His 2010 campaign promises were grand. Promises such as: “All young people will become millionaires if I become governor.” Promises like bringing high-speed rail to the state — fueled by homegrown potatoes, ethanol and alcohol, with South Carolinians growing the potatoes and investing in the rail system. And this one: If elected, Reeves said he’d guarantee the Gamecocks would win a national football championship.
According to Scott West, who is a co-chair of the South Carolina Green Party, the chances Reeves might wind up as its nominee in 2014 “would be zero.”
West says the Green Party has been talking to some possible candidates who might run for governor on a pro-sustainable, anti-nuclear, pro-choice and anti-austerity platform.
“They’d need to have a real candidate committee first, and would need to come with some experience and support from other progressive organizations,” he said.
Privately, the fact that Reeves took the Green Party’s nomination in 2010 irked some party members. (Reeves received the 2010 nomination, West said, because the Green Party at the time “did not have an efficient vetting process.”)
While running for governor in 2010, Reeves was also running for a seat on the Irmo school board. He also ran as a Republican for a Fairfield County Senate seat last year but was booted from the ballot for a filing technicality.
As for the United Citizens Party, while it’s still a certified political party, it’s unclear to what extent it’s functioning. It has no contact information on its website, and its director, who used to take calls at his work — a bail bondsman’s office — left that job years ago.
Meanwhile, former Democratic Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and ex-Republican gubernatorial candidate Oscar Lovelace have formed a new third party called the Free Citizens Party. Rex said they hope to field a gubernatorial candidate in 2014.
No Democrat has announced an intention to run. Sheheen says he’s still thinking about it. He recently published a book about policy that he’s been handing out to supporters.
Haley has not officially announced she will run for a second term, though she has a campaign system in place, is raising money, and has secured the maximum financial contribution available from the state Republican Party.
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