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From the Republican National Convention

Last week, Karen and I were in Tampa at the Republican National Convention. I was able to film this short video clip just outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

You can also view photos from the convention by going to my Facebook albums:

Republican National Convention: Day One

Republican National Convention Day Two and Three

Republican National Convention Night Three 3

As you can see, I was very excited to attend my first convention and enjoyed having Karen there to experience it as well! Obviously the highlight of the week was having Governor Romney stop to speak with us on the way to deliver the biggest speech of his career!

As specials thanks to the SC Republican Party for putting on a very busy and successful week. Having several speakers personally visit the SC delegation gave our activists, party leaders and officials a better chance to hear more about the person instead of just the brief time we hear officials on TV.

Two SC Republicans named National Convention Officers

Cindy Costa, Nathan Ballentine recommended as 2012 Republican National Convention officers


Columbia, S.C.- South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly today congratulated Cindy Costa and Nathan Ballentine for being recommended as Deputy Permanent Co-Chairmen of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The convention will be held August 27-30 in Tampa.

Costa, of Charleston, is South Carolina’s Republican National Committeewoman and Ballentine, of Chapin, is a State Representative from the 71st District. Both will preside over the 2012 National Convention at various times.

“Combined with Governor Haley’s important speaking role, Cindy and Nathan’s recommendation shows the strong health of our South Carolina Republican Party. We thank Governor Romney and the Republican National Committee for honoring Cindy and Nathan’s leadership with this high honor,” said SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly.

“Cindy and Nathan will join 11 other deputy Co-Chairmen, including a former governor and the former co-chairman of the RNC in helping to preside over Convention. Our state should be proud of the historic role these South Carolinians will hold at the 2012 Republican National Convention.”


Cindy Costa currently serves as the Republican National Committeewoman from South Carolina, a position she has held since 1996. She is currently the Vice-Chairman of the RNC Rules Committee and was an alternate at the 1992 and 1996 National Conventions as well as a Delegate to the 2000 and 2004 National Conventions. She also received a Presidential Appointment to the United Nations, serving from 2002-2003. She and her husband, Dr. Louis E. Costa, II, reside in Charleston and are the parents of four children and six grandchildren.

Nathan Ballentine was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004. In the House, he has served on the Education and Public Works Committee, the House Ethics Committee, the Joint Transportation Review Screening Committee and has been named a Friend of the Taxpayer and Taxpayer Hero every year he has served in the House. His legislative accomplishments include on the record voting, campaign finance disclosures, and he helped pass a rule banning hidden earmarks. He and his wife, Karen, reside with their three children in Chapin.


RNC Chairman Priebus Announces Recommended Deputy Permanent Co-Chairman of the Convention for the Republican National Convention

WASHINGTON – RNC Chairman Reince Priebus recommends the following to serve as Deputy Permanent Co-Chairmen of the Convention for the Republican National Convention:

Peter Ada, Guam National Committeeman

Saul Anuzis, Michigan National Committeeman

Nathan Ballentine, Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives (HD-71)

Henry Barbour, Mississippi National Committeeman

Barbara Comstock, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates (HD-34)

Cindy Costa, South Carolina National Committeewoman

Jo Ann Davidson, Ohio National Committeewoman

Jody Dow, Massachusetts National Committeewoman

Steve Duprey, New Hampshire National Committeeman

Betti Hill, Montana National Committeewoman

Gov. Bob List, Nevada National Committeeman

Shawn Steel, California National Committeeman

Solomon Yue, Oregon National Committeeman




The General Assembly reconvened last Tuesday for our final year of the 119th session. As you can imagine, there hasn’t been much debate on the House floor because our calendar was cleared when we left last summer and much legislation lies in our committees. Any pending legislation will “die” if does not become law before we adjourn this summer. Our sessions run every two years (as do House members terms) but this year you will also see all 46 Senators up for consideration at the ballot box just like all 124 House members. (Senators serve 4 year terms)

The House passed several bills last year that currently reside in the Senate and we hope our colleagues will consider those bills this year before session ends. In the meantime, my House colleagues will primarily focus on tax reform, pension reform, and of course the annual budget which is expected to have an additional $700M+ in revenues to be allocated.

Many members of our community have already been emailing me and speaking with me regarding those upcoming debates listed above. I hope you’ll also share your opinions with me as well. In addition to contacing me here through the website or calling/visiting me in my State House Office, you can speak with me anytime around town or at my constituent service nights. This year I may try something different to provide more people a chance to participate in constituent service nights. I am considering “tele-townhalls” which allow you to stay in the comfort of your kitchen or den and hear from me and ask questions right over your phone. More details to come.

Personally, I will ask my colleagues to support bills I have filed previously dealing with term-limits , healthcare and property tax relief.


For the past several months, I have served on the SC House GOP Tax Study Committee and can share with you that soon we’ll share our proposals and plan for debate and hopeful passage this year with more items passed in the coming years.

First and foremost will be the elimination of more than half the current sales-tax exemptions that several question the real need to our citizens. Unlike proposals and political sound bites of “eliminate all of them”, our intent is to still keep the ones most would feel are not “special interest”. Exemptions like gas, groceries, electricity, etc. With the removal of a majority of exemptions it’s our hope to reduce other areas of taxation to provide relief to citizens, small business, and also lead to further job creation in state.


Anytime I learn of a national figure visiting our community, I like to pass that information along. Tomorrow, my candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, will visit our community again and I hope you’ll join Representative Huggins and me there at Seven Oaks Park. The rally starts at 7:15 pm but please get there early and RSVP to let us know you’re coming (803-575-0698)

Congratulations to recently elected new Mayor of Irmo, Hardy King ! Hardy won a spirited contest and has worked tirelessly for the town since first being elected a councilman in 2005. Hardy’s election leaves a vacancy on Irmo Town Council. There will be a special election on March 6, 2012 to fill the vacant Council seat and complete the unexpired term (ending November 30, 2013). Former Councilwoman Kathy Condom and political newcomer Josh Smith are running to fill that vacancy

What’s going on around town?
A neighbor (Karen Owens) recently started Chapin Chatter and I encourage you to check it out to stay informed of recent announcements, local businesses, and learn more about our community and neighbors!


Last month, a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony was held at Chapin High School. While largely ceremonial, the Chapin community looked forward to the event for many months. Parents, students, teachers, staff, and community leaders attended the celebration. A construction contract was recently awarded that will add new classrooms, increase the school’s capacity to 1,700 students, and modernize and expand other existing spaces. In addition, changes will be made on the school campus that will improve parking and traffic flow.

Twenty-three teachers in Lexington-Richland Five recently earned the distinction of becoming National Board Certified Teachers. They join the 333 teachers in the district who previously received national certification, taking the district’s total to 356. The National Board process defines the knowledge, skills and accomplishments that symbolize teaching excellence. It was created so teachers, like professionals in other fields, can achieve distinction by demonstrating through a demanding performance assessment they meet high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. To see the names of these teachers, visit the district’s website.


Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!

Nathan Ballentine
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201

Presidential candidate visits again

Many recall my support four years ago for a relatively unknown (in our state) Governor and businessman to represent my party in the November 2008 Presidential election. The dominant topics during that campaign cycle were the war on terror and our national defense. When it became clear that another candidate with more expertise in those areas would be the Republican nominee, Governor Romney graciously suspended his campaign in order for Senator John McCain to work towards his impending general election opponent.

Earlier this year though, Governor Romney came to my home in Chapin and shared he was strongly considering another run. Karen and I immediately offered our support! Representative Huggins and I took him that day to meet with local business owners and neighbors who have been struggling in these economic times our country now faces.

While I thought Governor Romney was best in 2008, he certainly is best now when our country needs someone (from outside Washington) to help turnaround this struggling economy! A turnaround much like he did when he turned deficits into surpluses as Governor of Massachussets, when he saved an Olympics mired in controversy, and as he did working in the free-market to ultimately expand business and grow companies and create jobs.

I hope you’ll join me as he visits our community again tomorrow evening at 7:15 pm at Seven Oaks Park for a grassroots rally. Get there early and please let us know you’re coming by calling the office at 803-575-0698.

Hell hath no fury…

…like a woman scorned.

I deliberately didn’t read or watch any news today about Palin because I wanted to be able to blog tonight with my two cents on the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as McCain’s choice for Vice President.

For starters, I was really hoping McCain would pick my guy, Governor Romney , to provide a National Defense/Economy ticket that I thought would also help our chances in Michigan and out West. But it didn’t happen.

Then I began to think of why that didn’t happen and I came up with three items.

1) Huckles . I’m of the opinion that McCain and Governor Huckabee are friends. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy teaming up against Romney during the primary and, even as recent as last week, Huckles was still throwing out jabs against Romney. IF this opinion is correct, how could McCain give Romney a “leg up” for 2012 or 2016 over his friend Governor Huckabee?

2) Soundbites. Much like the criticism the Democrats are facing, having Romney on the ticket would all but assure his words during the primary season would be used against the ticket. Granted, he never said McCain wasn’t ready to lead (like Biden said of Obama) but still there would be soundbites used.

3) Hillary! When Obama dissed Hillary for his selection, the door was left WIDE OPEN for the Republicans to scoop in and pick up some of her disenfranchised voters. Now I’ve been told (by a female) that women won’t vote for the ticket just because a woman is on it. (I’m not buying it but it wouldn’t be the first time I didn’t understand women.) The selection has to, in part, be because of the fact that the Obama DIDN’T pick a woman. Were an option Governor “Sam” Palin, there is no chance that person would have been chosen.

I don’t fault McCain for his selection. In fact, it was a brilliant political move. He’s been running for president for at least 8 years and being this close, he’s got to finish with the prize. The pick does make me think of a few more things before I call it a night. [Read more…]

2008 Primaries: Did endorsements matter?

Does everyone really want to be like Mike?

Anyone over 20 knows “Air Jordan” and at that time, it was one of the largest endorsement deals ever. But now that the primaries are over, I keep asking myself the question I’ve asked since I ran for office four years ago: Do Endorsements matter in local politics?

During my first campaign (2004), I had no “endorsements” except those from my neighbors, church, civic clubs, etc. Obviously I was HOPING the “big name” endorsements wouldn’t matter.

We saw our opposition bring out mail piece after mail piece with the names of incumbent legislators, statewide office holders, sheriffs, and Washington politicians (we later learned some of those might not have been “real endorsements” but, heck, who knows the difference nowadays?). Obviously, we came out ahead in that race and it began to sink in….does the community-voter care who’s supporting who? Could it actually backfire on the candidate touting all the “politicians” support? Or, did it even matter at all?

I don’t have time to analyze all the endorsements, etc but tonight I did ask myself how our Governor did.

You probably have read that the Governor “can count on one hand” the number of endorsements he has done in the last 15 years. This year, he needed two hands.

Off the top of my head tonight, the Governor went 6-4 with WINS for two challengers (Tom Davis, Mike Rose), three open seats (Lee Bright, Tim Scott, Steve Stringer) and one incumbent (Greg Ryberg). His LOSSES were three challengers (Ed Rumsey, Katrina Shealy, Roger Nutt) and one open seat (Scott Singer).

For a Governor that many in the state support (and, yes, I support his fiscal-conservative ideas but have opposed him on things like cigarette tax, seat belts, autism, etc.), I would have expected a better result than my Gamecocks usually do.

Of course, when I look at someone else who has wide popularity in the state and is arguably our “favorite” US Senator, Jim Demint, the results really make me wonder.

Sen. Demint endorsed an open seat (Scott Talley) and a challenger (Katrina Shealy) and lost both. If you go back to the GOP Presidential race (we both supported the same guy – Gov. Mitt Romney), he actually is 0-3 in the 2008 primaries.

How do local voters look past a recommendation from someone who is the “darling” of the state?

Simple…voters want to make up their own mind.

In local races, voters have the time and resources to get to know the candidates and issues. They don’t want “polticians” butting in. They can figure it out themselves.

That’s why I really can count on one hand the primaries I’ve lent my name to: Lt. Governor Andre Bauer and Governor Mitt Romney. In my opinion, statewide races or national races don’t allow the voters the “one-on-one” chance to get to know candidates so MAYBE an endorsement or recommendation from someone can help voters. They’re also “up ballot” races meaning I’m not really telling my community who to pick to represent us locally. I publically stay out of local races and issues (but obviously share my opinion/vote when asked).

So…you tell me (again). When voters go to the polls, do they really care about the “big names” or do they care more about the person who has worked the hardest, shares their values, and whom they feel will do the best job?

We ain't dumb all the time

Didn’t we settle the Presidential Nomination debate months ago here in lil o’ South Carolina?

As much grief as we get about our rankings compared to the rest of the country (in everything, I might add), we at least got this “right” months ago.

Looks like a doozy of a battle is in store for the White House.

While I certainly don’t agree with Senator Obama (on pretty much anything), I will give him and his campaign credit for turning out voters. Many who have never voted before. And although I’ve never been a McCain guy (Bush 2000, Romney 2008), I certainly know who I’ll be supporting come November.

Who will win? No clue. How “The Obama Factor” will play out in other races (national, local) is also the million dollar question. We’ve got primaries in less than a month here in SC and the general in November.

Turnout will be key – as it usually is in any election.

Let me ask…..if you didn’t originally vote for McCain and Obama, will you support your party nominee in November?

First in the South: It's our turn now, y'all!

The nation turns it’s eyes to the Palmetto State for the next 11 days as the Republicans vote this Saturday (Jan 19) for their nominee and a week later the Democrats choose their candidate (Jan 26).

Just last week, Myrtle Beach put on a show with the GOP debate and very soon they’re center stage again for the Democrats.

Regardless who you support, I encourage you to get out and have your voice heard.

Think about it. If thousands of voters in Michigan (mainly Democrats) can wait in line and vote “uncommitted”, can’t we Sandlappers get out and vote for our guy (or gal)?

On the Republican side, most folks believe South Carolina is McCain‘s to lose but Huckabee should resonate well with evangelicals in our state. He’s backed by the Beasley name and the Campbell name. Those carry weight around here. Maybe Romney will see a bump from his win in Michigan? If you had to pick a darkhorse, many are saying former Senator Fred Thompson may surprise some folks. I actually thought he had one of his better performances at the Myrtle Beach debate last week but will that be enough to keep him alive in this very fluid race?

On the Democrat side, can John Edwards win here again? Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama appear to be leading but I think everything we’ve seen so far in Campaign 2008 leads us to believe there are always surprises around the corner.

One thing’s for sure (and it didn’t take a crystal ball to see this) “politics as usual” is at play. Anonymous attacks. Sign-stealing. Distortions on the airwaves. Sadly, as I have learned, politics isn’t like Sunday School.


Here’s this month’s regular update to keep you informed of what’s going on in the State House and in our community!

If you have events you’d like me to share on the site, please email me at and be sure to put the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can reply to your email before the hundreds of others I receive daily.


Next Tuesday, we’ll return to Columbia for the last year in this legislative session. Up first in the House will be any rules changes and the election to fill two vacant spots on the Ethics Committee. As you know from last month’s update, I am a candidate for this very important committee and look forward to hopefully serving in this capacity.

I’ll be very busy this year serving again on the House Education and Public Works Committee, in addition to the Joint Transportation Review Committee (House and Senate members), and the Education Finance Act Study Committee (House members only). Since day one I’ve kept an Open Door Policy and I’ll continue to keep extended office hours every Friday morning if you’d like to personally meet but could not schedule a time Tuesday through Thursday when we’re in session.

PLEASE be on the lookout for another CONSTITUENT SURVEY from me in the next few weeks. I want to find out how you think we can better reform state government and what ideas and suggestions you have on improving our state.


By now, you’ve received your property tax notice (both Richland and Lexington County constituents) and I appreciate the many calls of “thanks” I’ve received. What you may not realize though is that soon your mortgage company should be sending you an Escrow Analysis Statement (if you escrow your property taxes) and that will be even more good news. You can read more from this article in The State.


Both the SC Republican Presidential Primary and the SC Democratic Presidential Primary will take place this month. Regardless of your party or your candidate preference, I encourage you to have your voice heard. The Republican Primary is January 19th. The following week, January 26th, is the Democratic Primary.

The Ballentine Incorporation efforts continue as the measure will be on the ballot soon! Visit the Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association website for more information. Again, whether you are for or against the proposal, please take time to vote. There will be another informational meeting on incorporation January 5th and a regularly schedule BDFCA meeting on the 7th.

The Irmo Little League is holding Spring Registration each Saturday this month at Friarsgate Park. This season will be the first with new sidewalks at the park!

A Gang Awareness Seminar will be held at Ballentine Park on January 22nd. If you think we don’t have gang members in our community, think again.

The Annual Irmo Chamber of Commerce Red Carpet Gala will be held at the Radisson the evening of January 26th beginning at 6:30 p.m. Contact the Chamber for more information.


Twenty-three teachers in Lexington/Richland Five were among the 650 teachers in South Carolina to earn National Board Certification in 2007. Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is the highest credential available in the teaching profession. The process defines knowledge, skills and accomplishments that add up to teaching experience. District Five teachers receiving certification in 2007 include: Laura Adair, Irmo Elementary; Shannon Allonier, Chapin Middle; Gregory Bates, River Springs Elementary; Renee Bosco, Chapin Middle: Sonya Archie, Dutch Fork Middle; Julia Bussells, CrossRoads Middle; Lori Calhoun, CrossRoads Middle; Johnny Cooley, Irmo Middle; Angela Cox, Chapin Elementary; Kristina Debenport, CrossRoads Middle; Sandra Dickert, Irmo High; James Fanning, Irmo Middle; Barbara Frederick, H. E. Corley Elementary; Linda Fuller, Chapin Middle; Peggy Ardrey, Ballentine Elementary; Leon Hogan, Dutch Fork High; Lisa Larmon, Lake Murray Elementary; Laurie O’Kelly, CrossRoads Middle; Dawn Oswalt, Oak Pointe Elementary; Nancy Owen, Irmo High; Jennie Goforth, Ballentine Elementary; Janet Preston-Mack, Dutch Fork Elementary; Derrick Price, Chapin Middle; Sarah Gams, Chapin Middle; Carolyn Searles, Irmo High; Beth Tester, Ballentine Elementary; Shannon Toole, Ballentine Elementary; and Denise Tweito, Irmo Middle.

The Dutch Fork HS Boys’ Soccer Team (Coach Wayne Quinlan) won its 6th straight National Team Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Assn of America. No school in SC has won more and the only other school with 6 awards is a magnet school. Additionally, their team GPA was highest in D5. The award is based on last year’s GPA (3.7). The Chapin HS Boys’ Soccer Team (Coach: Dick Hiller) also received the award with a GPA of 3.56. Both the Irmo High School Boys’ (Coach: Phil Savitz) and Girls’ Soccer Team (Coach: Mike Mauldin) were recognized with GPAs of 3.54 and 3.86 respectively.

The School District Five Board of Trustees will hold a public forum prior to their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 14. The forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Chapin Elementary. The community is invited to use this forum as an opportunity to share ideas on how the district can address present and future facility needs and the shortage of classroom space. The public forum will be informal. Individuals who wish to speak will not be held to time limits; however, every effort will be made to ensure that all who wish to speak have an opportunity to do so.


Thanks again for visiting the site! Please let your friends and neighbors know about it so that they can stay as informed as possible.

As you can see, I try to write often and regularly update photos from our community as well as videos.
You have given me a great honor by choosing me to represent you in the South Carolina House of Representatives and I remain as committed as ever to staying in touch. Please contact my office, 734-2969, or email me at anytime I can be of service to you or your family.

I hope 2008 is the best year yet for you, your family, and our community!

Nathan Ballentine
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320A Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29221

Do endorsements really matter in politics – local, state, national?

From today’s State

“McCain, more than any other candidate, hopes voters factor endorsements into their decision-making.

McCain has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell and S.C. Senate Majority Leader Glenn McConnell. By one tally, McCain has 48 of 71 Republican lawmakers backing him.”

The article goes on to say that Governor Sanford (who endorsed McCain in 2000) will sit this one out.

All this reminds me of my opinion about endorsements – they may look good on paper but they aren’t going to win the race for you. Maybe I’m wrong?

Does one person’s name make that much difference? Or, is it the candidate himself and his message, abilities, experience and/or passion to serve, that make the difference?

Ever since I became a public servant, I’ve held true to my stance not to endorse candidates in local races. With races at the local level – Mayor, County Council, Town Council, School Board, etc – I believe you, the voter, have the time and resources to follow the race closely and weigh all the candidates. You also have a chance (or should) for one-on-one face time and Q&A sessions with each candidate at local events.

In statewide or national races, you may not have those opportunities. Where candidates aren’t as accessible here locally and there is less of a chance for you to get to know the candidates and their positions, I feel it appropriate for me to assist you with my public support and opinion. In the past I have endorsed Lt. Governor Andre Bauer for his statewide races and most recently Govenor Mitt Romney for his Presidential race.

While I’m in the minority of state policitians supporting Governor Romney, I am pleased to be joined by several conservatives here in the Midlands: Representatives Nikki Haley, Chip Huggins, Ted Pitts and Senator Ronnie Cromer.

Regardless how things end up with the Presidential race, Republicans will “endorse” the same candidate for the General Election. Now how much weight will that carry??

I’d be curious as to your thoughts. Do endorsements matter? Are you more willing to vote for someone because of who’s backing them? If you don’t have the time/resources to vet the candidates (like Presidential), I’m guessing endorsements do make a difference. In local races, I’m thinking they don’t. You’re smart enough (and close enough to the candidates) to form your own opinion.

I think people, not politics matter. Now if you hear your neighbor is supporting a candidate, that’s a whole other type of endorsement in my opinion. One that matters!