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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Time for a character audit?
Jonathan Pait
March 26, 2002

Yesterday we featured Lee Bandy's article from The State "GOP split to greet Bush on S.C. visit." Before the day concluded Larry Richter sent out his memorandum to "All Statewide Republican Candidates" about the FEC audit of the S.C. Republican Party. The next two days could be very interesting for GOPers in our great state.

Today before the "Outreach" gala Larry Richter will pass out the full 23-page audit report concerning the S.C. GOP. He says he is concerned about his and the other candidates campaigns getting "derailed by state party mismanagement." However, the timing seems suspect.

We have learned from several reliable sources that Henry McMaster would soon throw his hat into the ring as a candidate for Attorney General. Could this simply be a shrewd move to deflate his campaign before it even begins? If so, at what cost?

On the other hand, it is interesting that even before Hawkins dropped out of the race, McMaster decided to step down from his current position. Could these problems that he must have known were on the horizon have been the motivating factors that led to his retirement?

As if this was not enough, Bush swings into the state the very next day. Certainly his visit will not garner the national attention that his primary visit generated. However, it will serve as an opportunity to highlight the obvious sputtering of a party apparatus that should be running on all cylinders.

As of this time, we do not know all the facts. The information disseminated by the Richter campaign was not complete and while it certainly gives reason for concern, it is not time to jump to hasty conclusions. It is very possible that Richter is exposing the "worse case scenario" of the audit report. When the final report is released, we could see a chastised but undamaged S.C. GOP emerge.

Or has the damage already been done?

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