COLUMBIA - After months of intense speculation about his health, U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond no longer is granting interviews. Intense media interest into Mr. Thurmond's fragile appearance was fueled by the Senate's then 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats. Had Mr. Thurmond, a Republican, left office before his term expired, Democrats would have gained control with Gov. Jim Hodges appointing a successor. But attention began to dwindle after U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont defected from the Republicans and tipped the political balance to Democrats.
AIKEN - Ninety-nine candles would be a lot to blow out, even for his younger, windier colleagues on Capitol Hill. If anyone can do it, his loyalists say, it's Ol' Strom. U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, the senior congressman from South Carolina, turns one year shy of 100 Wednesday. "Ninety-nine is fine as long as I can live to be 110," Mr. Thurmond said in a statement released through his office last week. Although his health has flagged in recent years, Mr. Thurmond has transcended politics to become part of popular culture.
BLUFFTON, S.C. - The state calls it a "critical area," a saltwater flat teeming with crabs, snails and marsh grass. Nearby residents, however, call it All Joy Beach. And they say it's disappearing. The beach was created in the late 1920s, long before today's strict environmental laws were passed. Sand was brought in, spread around, and "beachfront" lots were sold for $50 apiece along the May River. Developer Thomas Lawton Sr. called the resulting community Brighton Beach, after his plantation in Garnet.
Today's Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate will tip the balance of power in Washington, but it's too early to tell how the shift will affect Georgia and South Carolina, some political scientists say. "Overall, it's too soon to call," said Blease Graham, a professor at the University of South Carolina who tracks Southern politics. "I don't think it will change that much inside this state."