|113th Governor of South Carolina|
January 11, 1995 – January 13, 1999
|Preceded by||Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Jim Hodges|
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from District 56|
|Born||David Muldrow Beasley
February 26, 1957
Darlington, South Carolina
|Political party||Republican(since 1991)
Democratic (before 1991)
|Spouse(s)||Mary Wood Payne|
|Residence||Society Hill, South Carolina|
|Alma mater||University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina School of Law
David Beasley, a native of Darlington, South Carolina, began his political career as a member of the Democratic Party, but switched to the Republican Party in September 1991, three years before his election as governor. His first run for public office came in 1978, when, as a 21-year-old junior attending Clemson University, he unexpectedly won a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He later graduated from the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Early political career
Beasley served as a member of the House from 1979 until 1995, rising through the party ranks to become Majority Whip. He served as the youngest Speaker pro tempore and Majority Leader in the nation, being elected to the position from 1987–1989. It was during the 1991–92 legislative session that Beasley switched to the Republican Party. During the 1994 election for governor, both Beasley and his Democratic opponent Lieutenant Governor Nick Theodore had tough primary fights within their own respective parties. Beasley, however, beat his toughest competitor, former Congressman and State Senator Arthur Ravenel, Jr., in both the primary and run-off, and went on to win the general election by a narrow margin of 50%–48%.
During his term as governor, Beasley was known for injecting his Christian faith into the public discourse.
In 1998, Beasley was defeated in his bid for re-election by Democrat Jim Hodges, 53-45 percent. There are several reasons for Beasley's surprising loss in a state that has since become heavily Republican.
First, owners of video poker machines, which were legal in South Carolina at the time, poured millions of dollars into advertisements attacking Beasley for trying to ban video poker. Second, Beasley changed his position on keeping the Confederate flag on top of the Capitol. He ordered it moved to a place nearby on the capitol grounds. Many conservative Republicans remembered this supposed "flip-flop" on Election Day, and simply stayed home. Third, Beasley opposed a proposal for the state to support all-day kindergarten, a decision which cost him Democratic votes Additionally, many voters questioned his decision-making in an emergency after he delayed reversing the in-coming lane on Interstate 26 during the evacuation of Hurricane Floyd, even though this had been done successfully several years before, prior to Hurricane Hugo. As a result, thousands spent up to 20 hours stranded in traffic and fearing for their safety should Floyd have headed inland. However, Hurricane Floyd occurred in 1999 during the term of Democrat Jim Hodges.
Though Beasley was defeated, Attorney General of South Carolina Charlie Condon won reelection, 54-46 percent, over the Democratic activist, Tom Turnipseed, a former state senator and lawyer from Columbia, active in the civil rights movement.
Following his term as governor, Beasley was invited as a fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2003, Beasley was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) for his controversial request to the South Carolina legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state house dome.
In April 2005, Governor Beasley, along with his administration's former Chief Legal Counsel, Henry Deneen, incorporated the Center for Global Strategies, Ltd (CGS). CGS focuses on developmental initiatives in the non-integrated world. Governor Beasley serves as the Chairman of the Board.
In 2011, Beasley became a member of the board of the Peace Research Endowment.
Beasley is married to the former Mary Wood Payne and is the father of four children: Mary Hunter, Sarah Catherine, David, Jr., and Samuel Ross. Governor Beasley currently resides in Society Hill, SC, located in Darlington County.
Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.
|Governor of South Carolina
January 11, 1995–January 13, 1999