- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley has ordered a special election to fill the congressional seat being vacated as Tim Scott becomes South Carolina’s next senator.

Mrs. Haley’s spokesman Rob Godfrey says she signed the executive order Wednesday morning, setting sets the timeline for the special election. Mr. Scott officially resigned from his 1st District seat in a letter Dec. 28, with an effective date of Jan. 2.

Mrs. Haley appointed Mr. Scott on Dec. 17 to replace resigning Sen. Jim DeMint. South Carolina’s first black lawmaker in the U.S. Senate will face a special election in 2014 to fulfill the remaining two years of Mr. DeMint’s term.

Mrs. Haley’s order means party primaries for Mr. Scott’s former seat from the coastal district will be March 19. Any necessary runoffs will be April 2. The general election will be May 7.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Lynch plans to stay out of public eye

CONCORD — John Lynch — a people person’s governor by his own description — plans a quiet retirement out of the public eye, but not away from the state he loves.

The 60-year-old Democrat leaves office Jan. 3 when another Democrat, Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, is sworn in to succeed him. Mr. Lynch said he will not speak out on issues, lobby or do anything that interferes with Mrs. Hassan’s opportunity to govern in her own style.

Mr. Lynch said he does not know what he will do next, though Dartmouth College has asked him to teach. He said he may develop a course building on three classes he taught at the college over the past few months on the differences and similarities between heading a business and governing the state.

Mr. Lynch, a former businessman, said he also may serve on corporate or nonprofit boards.

STATE

Clinton leaves hospital after blood clot treatment

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been released from a New York hospital where she was treated for a blood clot in her head.

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said her doctors advised her that she has been making progress on all fronts and are confident she will make a full recovery.

He said Mrs. Clinton is appreciative of the care she received at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and is eager to get back to work. A date for her return to the State Department has not been set.

Mrs. Clinton had been in the hospital since Sunday, where she was being treated with blood thinners to dissolve the clot. Doctors discovered the clot during a follow-up exam stemming from a concussion she suffered earlier in December.

IOWA

Rules eased for felons regaining voting rights

IOWA CITY — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is making it easier for thousands of felons to regain their voting rights, removing requirements that had been criticized by civil rights groups as unnecessary and burdensome.

Iowa will remain one of four states where felons have to apply to the governor to have their rights to vote and hold public office restored after completing their terms of prison and parole. But Mr. Branstad, a Republican, said that applicants do not have to pay off all their court costs, fines and restitution to become eligible, as was the case previously, as long as they are making a “good faith effort” to do so.

Mr. Branstad also announced that applicants will no longer have to obtain their credit history reports and submit them to his office, a requirement he imposed in January 2011, which was believed to be the only one of its kind. Branstad aides had argued those reports were needed to verify that an applicant did not have any outstanding court debts.

NORTH CAROLINA

Governor promises to push back against special interests

DURHAM — Incoming North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday his top priorities include changing the state’s tax system, and he’s promising bankers and business leaders he’ll push back if special interests try to protect their advantage.

Mr. McCrory, who will be sworn into office Saturday, said he believes North Carolina’s corporate and personal income tax rates are holding back recovery from the Great Recession because they make the state less attractive to business executives seeking to create jobs. North Carolina’s unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in November was the country’s fifth-highest and well above the national average of 7.7 percent.

Though business executives have sought to cut corporate and personal income taxes, Mr. McCrory said after details of his tax package are announced he expects lobbyists to work to protect the industries and executives who hire them. But the governor-elect says business leaders can expect a call from him if they seek to put their narrow interest before improvements in the state’s long-term economic strength.

“I do think tax reform is one of the solutions, but it won’t be easy. It’s going to step on everyone’s toes a little bit,” Mr. McCrory told about 1,100 people at an event hosted by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the state’s Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t want to step on people’s toes to cause pain. I want to step on people’s toes to get them to stand up and recognize we’ve got a problem we’ve got to fix.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports