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Former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) said he will make a decision about a run for Congress in the Palmetto's State's new 7th district in the next few weeks. He told Roll Call Friday afternoon that he was definitely "leaning towards doing it."
State Rep. Thad Viers (R) has already announced his bid for the new Republican-leaning district anchored in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
In an interview, Bauer emphasized his work ethic during his eight years as lieutenant governor. "It would be the same way with Congress. I would work just incredibly hard for that district," he said.
Bauer praised the Members elected in 2010, saying the newest people in the South Carolina Congressional delegation "have done an outstanding job. And we've got an opportunity to send another real conservative to Washington."
He mentioned the federal debt and deficit as issues that would be important to his campaign, should he run for Congress.
"I'm not scared to talk about issues that, sometimes, quite frankly, are politically incorrect," he said.
Bauer made national headlines during his losing campaign for governor in 2010 when he drew a comparison between people who receive government assistance and "stray animals."
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better," Bauer said in January 2010, according to the Greenville News.
Asked by Roll Call about those comments, Bauer said, "Clearly I wished they hadn't taken my comments and ran with them the way they did, but that's sensationalized journalism, that's what sells newspapers."
But, he added, "The average working person out there is so sick of seeing how hard they're working and having less dollars to spend and they're tired of seeing the government waste the money they send in. They're disappointed. They have seen different programs be abused.
"It's easy to criticize to the guy who wants to engage in the discussion, but you can never fix the problem if you won't at least engage in it," Bauer said.
He said he expected someone to bring those comments back up, but hoped he could use the opportunity to engage on the issues.
Bauer also bemoaned the nasty partisanship that is rampant in Washington, D.C., and taxation and regulation that hamper businesses from growing.
Roll Call rates the open seat race as Likely Republican.