Nathalie Dupree

Nathalie Dupree, credit Nathalie.com

Celebrity chef Nathalie Dupree, 70, has launched a last-minute write-in campaign in the South Carolina U.S. Senate race. She faces the Republican incumbent, Jim DeMint; the Democratic nominee, Alvin Greene; Tom Clements, the Green Party nominee; and two other write-in candidates, high school teacher Greg Snoad and an inactive attorney, Mazie Ferguson.

From the Washington Post:

“I have one goal in this campaign: to cook Jim DeMint’s goose,” she said in announcing her candidacy.

Dupree — as well as the nation’s headline writers — is having fun with the cooking metaphor.

Dupree is critical of DeMint’s efforts to rally Tea Party candidates across the country as well as his opposition to an earmark for Charleston Harbor.

DeMint “would rather change the U.S. Senate than help South Carolinians,” Dupree says. “I just think there needs to be a voice at least to make Jim DeMint come home … instead of (trying to be) a big man to create a new party that is gong to create steam from a kettle.”

The $400,000 earmark in question would be used to study the feasibility of dredging the Port of Charleston, which might allow access to larger container ships. According to The Charleston City Paper, the Charleston harbor is the only East Coast port not included in an upcoming spending bill; as a result, The Charleston Post and Courier criticized DeMint in an editorial.

A Charlestonian, Dupree fumes:

“This port is the economic engine of South Carolina,” she says. “This port brought in BMW, Boeing, and Michelin. How can this be that we have a Senator who is so vain and egotistical and driven for his own political agenda that he won’t vote for $400,000 for this state, this city.”

As much as I oppose earmarks, I understand Dupree’s frustration:

“Without this study, we cannot remain competitive with other East Coast ports,” she continued. “Instead of us getting our money, it’s going to Georgia — one of our biggest competitors — and we’ve dropped from fourth to ninth” in seaport business. […] “I am just determined to make [DeMint] understand that his primary obligation is to get jobs to South Carolina,” she said, “not to support candidates in Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, and Arizona, but to come home and help work on our infrastructure, get us money for our highways — get us real money for our infrastructure which will give people jobs.”

DeMint is running for his second term in the Senate. He is favored to retain his seat. The only write-in candidate to ever be elected to the U.S. Senate — from any state — was Strom Thurmond in 1954; however, he had served as South Carolina’s governor. Dupree’s stated goal is to keep DeMint’s total share of the vote under 50 percent, denying him a mandate.

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
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