**By Matthew Newman
South Carolina's 3rd Congressional District is currently represented by Republican Gresham Barrett. Barrett ran for Governor in 2010 and lost in the runoff to Nikki Haley. Graham has served in Congress since 2002, when he replaced Lindsey Graham in the 3rd Congressional District. That left the seat wide open for the 2010 campaign. This led to a number of candidates entering into a GOP primary. After a bitter runoff with Preacher Richard Cash (who went incredibly negative towards the end), one man emerged victorious - State Legislator Jeff Duncan.
Duncan was a no-brainer candidate for the Club for Growth to endorse early on to replace Gresham Barrett. Why? Duncan was a conservative darling with a proven record in the State Legislature of promoting pro-growth legislation. He received the "Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB); an A+ rating from the Club for Growth, the Palmetto Leadership Award from the SC Policy Council (2003), and an A+ rating from the NRA. He's pro-life and a supporter of adoption as an alternative (he has a plank on his platform discussing the topic). On the whole, he's a solidly conservative candidate with genuine experience to back him up.
In February, I interviewed Duncan for the new Old Line Elephant and he impressed me. When asked the first things he'd introduce if elected, Duncan said, "Two things really: 1. Re-introduce the Government Ownership Exit Plan to get government out of the ownership of private businesses; and 2. A cap on the number of "Special Advisers to the President" (Czars) and this un-Constitutional expansion of the powers of the Executive Branch." On healthcare reform, instead of Obamacare, Duncan said that we need the following:
- Use the Interstate Commerce Provision in the US Constitution to have the states drop the barriers preventing private insurers from operating state to state, increasing competition which will result in more affordable plans.
- Frivolous lawsuit reform.
- Dollar-for-dollar tax credits on personal tax returns for those small business owners and individuals who purchase their insurance outside of any employer-sponsored plan so they, too, can have tax-free insurance.
- Allow associations such as the National Association of Realtors to offer health-care plans for their association members.
- Give doctors the ability to take a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction for the value of free service they provide those in need.
In the fall, Duncan will face Jane Dyer - the 2008 candidate ready to fight in South Carolina's 3rd District again. She lost to Barrett in 2008 by a decent margin - but he had the incumbency in his favor. In an open race, anything can happen - and Dyer's a candidate who does not support repeal of Obamacare but implies that she supports it as is with minor changes. At the end of the brutal primary, the two candidates have the same amount of cash on hand. We need to support pro-growth candidates like Jeff Duncan across the country. If you are interested in learning more, check out his official website here and consider a donation.