FITS: Mike Pitts Will Resign
W- FILING CALENDAR: Veteran South Carolina state representative Mike Pitts will resign his seat in the SC General Assembly next month to head up a government-run conservation organization AND in his own words.
The State Election Commissions has announced dates to fill the House District 14 seat that will become vacant on Jan. 3, 2019 (Mike Pitts retirement).
Counties: Greenwood and Laurens
Filing Opens: Noon, Friday, December 28
Filing Closes: Noon, Saturday, January 5
Primary: February 19
Primary Runoff: March 5
Special Election: April 23
Pitts – a native of Laurens, S.C. and a former officer with the Greenville, S.C. police department – has represented S.C. House District 14 (map) in Columbia since 2003. Over that time, he has generated headlines on a number of fronts – most notably his advocacy on behalf of the Confederate flag during the contentious debate over its removal from the grounds of the S.C. State House in 2015.
Funding for this program – which purchases privately owned land for conservation purposes – had been set as high as $22 million. However, questionable appropriations from the fund angered state lawmakers – prompting them to slash its budget to just $5 million in recent years.
In the current fiscal year – which began on July 1 – the bank received $7.5 million.
There has also been controversy over the bank’s office budget, with S.C. governor Henry McMaster vetoing a proposed $220,335 addition to its existing $283,916 appropriation for staff and office expenses earlier this year.
Pitts, 62, will take on his new role just months after suffering a heart attack on a hunting trip to Montana.
His resignation will prompt a special election to fill the remainder of his ninth term in office – which he won in November without opposition. In fact, Pitts had not been challenged for his House seat since 2012, when he handily defeated Democrat Ed Taylor.