COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Carroll Campbell promised Wednesday to use the mandate of his landslide re-election to streamline state government, including vesting more power in the governor's office.
The Republican lawmaker, fresh off his historic victory over state Sen. Theo Mitchell of Greenville, indicated he may push for a cabinet form of government.``I'm going in for major changes in government,' Campbell told reporters. ``We will try to seek as much as the executive type of government as we possibly can.'
South Carolina has long been a legislative state, with power vested in the legislature and state agencies governed by commissions generally elected by lawmakers. In a cabinet, the chief executive appoints the heads of major agencies.
Campbell did not discuss the details. He said he did not want to steal the thunder from his January State of the State address to the General Assembly.
But he promised to unveil a ``complete program' for streamlining government. He added that a cabinet ``would be the best form of government we could have as far as the management side.'
Campbell and U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond led a GOP ticket which swept in two other Republicans to upset victories over Democrats in statewide races Tuesday.
In the race for education superintendent, Barbara Nielsen defeated 12-year incumbent Charlie Williams. John Campbell, no relation to the governor, was seeking a fourth term as secretary of state. But he was defeated by Republican Jim Miles.
Thurmond, who is 87, is the oldest and longest-serving member of Congress. He easily defeated Democrat Robert Cunningham of Pawleys Island.
Miles told reporters he will make major changes in regulating lobbyists.
``The lobbyist problem is going to be solved,' the Greenville lawyer said. He promised his office will make lobbyists tell how they spend every dollar to influence legislation.
``That means every breakfast, that means every drink, that means every trip,' he said.
Nielsen promised a financial and personnel audit of the Department of Education. She complained during the campaign the department was top-heavy with administrators.
She also promised to cut ``the avalanche of paperwork' teachers must fill out every day.
Gov. Campbell said Mitchell called him Wednesday morning and promised to work with the governor.
``The people of South Carolina are more unified than at any time in the history of this state,' said the governor. He added he would push in the legislature for campaign and ethics reform.
All four of South Carolina's incumbent U.S. representatives facing challengers easily won re-election.
Lt. Gov. Nick Theodore defeated Republican Henry McMaster. Agriculture Commissioner Les Tindal, who jumped to the GOP earlier this year, was also re-elected.
State Treasurer Grady Patterson, Adjutant General T. Eston Marchant, and Comptroller General Earle Morris, all Democrats, were also returned to office. Incumbent Democratic Attorney General Travis Medlock was unopposed.
Three state House members were upset in Tuesday's voting while a recount was required in a fourth race. But the Democrats maintained their better than 2-to-1 edge in the Statehouse.
However, the governor said he felt he would be able to get his changes through the legislature even with the Democratic dominance.
``There are many members of the Democrat Party in South Carolina who are philosophically very much in tune and also very interested in some of the things I am very interested in,' he said.
He said the changes in government, if approved, would probably require voter approval and take several years to put into effect.
``This is not going to benefit Carroll Campbell,' the governor said.
Voters generally opposed a local option sales tax. Voters also rejected a constitutional amendment to limit the power of the state grand jury.
``The voters said they wanted the state to take every action they could against public corruption by soundly defeating the constitutional amendment,' Campbell said.
He added voters rejected the tax because they didn't trust local lawmakers to use the proceeds to roll back local property taxes.
``Both of those (issues) have to do with the way they're looking at trust of government,' Campbell said. ``It was a statement from the voters that they trusted their neighbor but they wanted to tie up their mule.'
In other election news, voters in Richland County picked an independent petition candidate in House District 80 over a Republican in Tuesday's election.
James ``Bubba' Cromer won 53.6 percent of the vote to defeat Republican Robert H. Burnside. Cromer had petitioned to get on the ballot after Rep. Mickey Burris, R-Eastover, decided to retire shortly before the deadline to file candidacy papers.
Also, Rep. Will McCain, R-Orangeburg, survived another close race. McCain won 54 percent of the vote to beat Democrat Liz Keitt.
In two Spartanburg County House races, recounts will be ordered. In District 37, Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport lost to Democratic challenger Kathleen Kempe, an attorney, by just 26 votes. And in District 38, Republican Rep. Danny Bruce of Campobello won by just four votes over Democratic challenger Judy Bradley.
State law requires recounts in both the Bruce and Davenport races because the margin between the winner and loser was within one percent of the total vote, said Betty Moore, director of registration and elections for Spartanburg County.