State GOP Convention Exhibits Party Strength
April 27, 2002
I just arrived home looking through my mail (half of which pertained to candidates running for something at the State Convention) after a weekend full of activities at the South Carolina Republican Party Convention at Township Auditorium in Columbia. Although I am pretty tired from driving back and forth between Spartanburg and Columbia twice this weekend, I am energized and excited by the exhibition of strength displayed by the state GOP!
Going into this weekend, there were several pressing questions that have been building over the past few months:
1. Who will become the successor to Henry McMaster as Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party?
2. Will the alleged “deep divide” in the South Carolina Republican Party that stemmed from the Bush-McCain battle in the 2000 presidential elections have an effect on the unity in the party?
3. Can the Republicans in South Carolina come together in the general elections on November 4th, defeat Jim Hodges, Kevin Geddings and Dick Harpootlian and elect Republicans into office in national, state and local races?
Now that the Convention has concluded, the answers to these questions have become much clearer than they were before! More importantly, the answers to these questions should make every GOP candidate running for office in South Carolina this year extremely happy.
The atmosphere at the Convention was extremely tense as we were teased throughout the day about the outcome of the Chairman’s election. After waiting for several hours for the credentials to be approved and then another hour or so to cast our vote using this supposedly quicker electronic system, the delegates still did not know who won the election until the Convention was coming to a close.
Nevertheless, the results were nearly anticlimactic as Katon Dawson won a resounding victory in the Chairman’s race garnering 62% of the votes from the delegates. A burst of energy shot across the crowd as Katon received a nearly unanimous standing ovation for becoming the new leader of the Republican Party in South Carolina. He vowed to lead the Republican Party to victory this Fall!
As for the supposed “deep divide” in the Republican Party in South Carolina that newspaper columnists like Lee Bandy from THE STATE would have us believe, I think that issue was put to rest soundly this weekend. From the delegates on the floor of the Convention to the people running for office, the Republican Party displayed enormous strength and will get even stronger from here!
I was especially impressed by the way Cyndi Mosteller and Tommy Windsor handled themselves after Katon Dawson won the Chairman’s election. Did they hang their heads? Absolutely not! They vowed their support to Katon to help defeat the Democrats in November. In fact, Cyndi announced that she would be the first person to write a check in support of the South Carolina Republican Party. Tommy said he would be willing to hold up signs if that is what it takes to help Republicans win the elections! Does anyone see any division here?
As for coming together to defeat the Democrats in the Fall elections, that message was delivered without interruption from every speaker who graced the stage at the Convention. The South Carolina Republican Party found its common purpose and primary goal this weekend. Regardless of what happens in the June primary elections, Republicans will work hand in hand as hard as they can to capture as many elections for their candidates on the local, state and national level. There’s no doubt about it in my mind that this will indeed happen.
This brings me to a very important lesson I learned from the experience at this Convention. It really does not matter who you are supporting right now in the upcoming political races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate and the other state and local elections in the primary in June. Whatever the outcome of the elections on June 11th and, if necessary, the runoff elections on June 25th, we must follow the example shown by the candidates for State Party Chairman after the primary elections are over.
The losing candidates and their supporters should be applauded for playing such an active role in their government. Any of the Republican candidates running for office are better than all of the Democratic candidates combined! There will be a lot of people who will come up on the losing end of the elections in June. I urge these candidates now to pledge to work just as hard for the winners in the primary elections as they have worked in their own campaigns. If all of them do that, then the Democrats don’t stand a chance against our unified front in November!
It is imperative that we all come together as one voice and contribute to the cause of making sure Republicans are successful at every level in the November elections. It will not be easy, but nothing worth having ever is. Everyone doing something will make it happen!!!
Is anyone with me on this?