Politics & Government

Want to govern S.C.? Only young need apply

Running for governor is a young man's — or, this year, woman's — game in South Carolina.

S.C. voters have nominated two 30-something candidates for governor, Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley of Lexington County and Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Kershaw County. If elected, either would take office before celebrating a 40th birthday.

The Sheheen and Haley candidacies continue a long-standing trend among Palmetto State voters of choosing youthful governors.

Ernest "Fritz" Hollings was just 36 when he was elected governor in 1958, and no S.C. governor elected in the last 15 years — Mark Sanford, Jim Hodges and David Beasley — has been older than 42 when entering the office.

(That's bad news for Morgan Bruce Reeves of Irmo, 51, is also running for governor as an independent and Green Party candidate.)

Observers cite a number of reasons for the youth trend, including an anti-establishment streak among S.C. voters, the Republican Party's rise in the 1980s and '90s, which opened opportunities for more candidates, and the trend toward long service among the state's members of Congress. (U.S. senators and representatives from South Carolina tend to stay in Congress, winning term after term, rather than risk running for governor, a post limited to two eight-year terms.)

S.C. voters just seem to like newer, more rebellious faces in the Governor's Mansion

Read this story on thestate.com