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Senate Republicans got a potential boost as Sen. Fritz Hollings (D.-S.C.) announced his retirement last week. The conservative South Carolina is likely to help increase the GOP's slim majority.

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Hollings’ Departure Opens Door for GOP

Senate Republicans got a potential boost as Sen. Fritz Hollings (D.-S.C.) announced his retirement last week. The conservative South Carolina is likely to help increase the GOP’s slim majority.

Democratic Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings of South Carolina, who is 81 years old, has announced he will not seek reelection next year, increasing the odds that the Republicans will add to their 51-to-49 Senate majority.

Veteran conservative North Carolina political consultant Marc Rotterman summed up the situation. “You’ve got three Republicans running in Georgia for [retiring Democrat] Zell Miller’s Senate seat and no well-known Democrat,” he said. “[Republican Rep.] Richard Burr is going so strong in North Carolina that [Democratic Sen.] John Edwards may skip re-election and stick with the presidential race. And now Fritz Hollings opens up an opportunity for Republicans in South Carolina.”

With Hollings gone, South Carolina may become the most solidly Republican state in the union. Last year, it elected Republican Rep. Lindsay Graham to the U.S. Senate, and former Republican Rep. Mark Sanford as governor. It also elected Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature. In 2000, George W. Bush won 57% of the vote in the state.

So far, the two leading candidates for the Republican Senate nomination are three-term Rep. Jim DeMint and former state Atty. Gen. Charles Condon, who placed third in the Republican primary for governor last year. Both are strong conservatives. DeMint (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 91%), who is sticking to a self-imposed term limit in leaving the House, entered the Senate sweepstakes earlier this year with encouragement from the White House. He was one of only 19 Republican House Members to vote against the Medicare prescription drug package. So far, he has raised more than $1 million for the race. Condon has raised nearly $450,000.

As for Democrats, state GOP Executive Director Luke Byars said, “Fritz’s departure means a new turn for them-a left turn.” Indeed, the most talked about possible Democratic contender is two-term state Superintendent of Public Education Inez Tannenbaum. A former lobbyist for the South Carolina Family Research Council, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood, Tannenbaum called last winter for a sales tax increase.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as ‚??the man who knows everyone in Washington‚?Ě and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what‚??s going on in the nation‚??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ‚??Gizzi on Politics‚?Ě and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ‚??Gizzi‚??s America,‚?Ě video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John‚??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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