(AP) Ted Turner’s son vying in SC congressional primary
By BRUCE SMITH
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C.
Teddy Turner inherited his love of sailing from his father, media magnate Ted Turner. But there is less of a family resemblance when it comes to politics.
While the elder Turner leans Democratic, Teddy Turner is running as a Republican in a crowded race for an open South Carolina congressional seat created by a U.S. Senate appointment.
Teddy Turner is one of at least 10 Republicans and two Democrats running in the March 19 party primaries in this coastal district.
The contest has already attracted former South Carolina Gov. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), a Republican seeking to make a political comeback after an affair with an Argentine woman derailed his career, and comedian Steven Colbert’s sister, who is vying for the Democratic nomination.
The younger Turner, during an interview with the Associated Press in his home overlooking a marsh in this bedroom community near Charleston, described how his conservative views were decades in the making.
One of five Turner children and Ted Turner’s son by his first marriage to Julia Gale Nye, Robert Edward Turner IV graduated from South Carolina’s military college, The Citadel, then worked in the then-Soviet Union with CNN, the cable network his dad founded.
Later Teddy Turner held positions both with Turner Broadcasting System and Country Music Television before returning to Charleston 13 years ago. He ran several businesses and worked with underprivileged children at the South Carolina Maritime Foundation. Now he teaches economics at the Charleston Collegiate School, a private school near Charleston.
Working for CNN, Turner said he saw firsthand a busted centralized economy and experienced socialized medicine after being in a Soviet hospital following a serious traffic accident.
What concerns him most is the federal budget deficit. He said he decided to enter the race after discussions about the issue with former U.S. Rep. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), hearing his student’s questions about the state of the economy and looking into the eyes of his three young children and wondering what kind of nation they will inherit.
Scott, a Republican, was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Republican Jim DeMint resigned.
The 1st Congressional District extends from the sea islands northeast of Charleston southwest to the gated communities on the resort of Hilton Head Island. It leans strongly Republican _ it’s been decades since it last sent a Democrat to Congress _ and Sanford held the seat for three terms before he was elected governor.
Making his first political race, Turner casts himself as a newcomer, not a career politician, and one who is willing to talk with those across the aisle in Congress about the nation’s troubled finances.
He said he would push for a commonsense approach, telling each agency to trim its budgets by a certain percentage. That, he says, is exactly what a business or a family would do during hard times.
With Turner, what you see is what you get, said Hacker Burr, the head of Charleston Collegiate, from which Turner is on sabbatical.
Scott Buchanan, the executive director of The Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics, said being an outsider may not work in Turner’s favor in the GOP primary.
Buchanan said he sees little evidence that likely GOP primary voters are willing to be accommodating across the aisle. He gives the early edge to three state legislators in the race, as well as to Sanford.
Turner said his dad is supportive of his congressional bid but that he doesn’t expect him to see him on the campaign trail.
Ted Turner did not immediately respond to a message from the AP seeking comment on his son’s candidacy.
The younger Turner is not a total stranger to South Carolina’s political world.
The Turners and the Sanfords own rural property in the same area of coastal South Carolina, and Turner has known Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) for years, hunting and sailing with him.
While Sanford has high name recognition after two terms as governor and a sex scandal, Turner doesn’t see it as a positive. “I think Mark has had his time,” he said.
Turner said not being a politician may be an advantage for his campaign, which began airing its first television ads last weekend.