Political Terrorists To Strike (Or Not!)
March 3, 2003
Thereís a new kind of menace lurking in the shadows of Spartanburg County Republican politics. They are called political terrorists.
And although they did not strike a personal attack against the Chairman of the Spartanburg County Republican Party at the Executive Committeeman meeting, their dangerous motives remain.
Spartanburg GOP Chairman Rick Beltram is the target of these political terrorists. The problems he has been having with this small faction of adversaries have been well documented in recent articles in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal and in an article I wrote last month.
But then one of the political terrorists decided to reveal his identity in a response to my article Beltram Irks Few In Spartanburg. His name is Mike Dixon.
Mike Dixon has shown a personal dislike and downright hatred for Rick Beltram for as long as Iíve known him. He was one of the key supporters for Marlene Saad when she lost her bid for the Spartanburg GOP Chairman to Beltram in the Fall 2001. Dixonís bitter disgust for Rick Beltram and everything that he stands for has continued to this day.
But now this personal vendetta by Mike Dixon against Beltram has gotten ugly. Dixon has teamed up with a member of the local Spartanburg County GOP legislative delegation. It is none other than state Rep. Bob Walker.
Walker, like Dixon, detests Beltram because he perceives that Beltram has not led the local Republican Party well. His hostility towards Beltram runs deep and wide.
I have seen evidence of this with my own eyes as I watched Walker get visibly angry at Beltram during a Spartanburg GOP officerís meeting last year. As an elected official, Walker believes that Beltram has let him down. In turn, Walker has done everything he can to make life difficult for Beltram.
An anonymous letter was recently mailed out to a man named Rick Lee, formerly a high profile Republican Party activist in Spartanburg County, after he attended a meeting a few weeks ago where Rick Beltram was defending himself against these political terrorists and was supported by several key Republican leaders.
The following is that letter written verbatim in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Lee
I gathered from your remarks that you were politically astute enough to assess the room Saturday, and that you realized that Rick (Beltram) has few supporters from those in the know. Look at the last election and evaluate the candidates that he actively supported. Evins, Hopper, Fogle, Demint and Hiltgen. All lost races except Demint who barely beat no name Bradley in Spartanburg county. Rickís reputation among the business community is far from stellar. His outstanding debts are staggering. He clearly made a fool of himself the day Hodges brought the check to the Chamber for the downtown development, by picketing in front of the auditorium. Rick truly believes that he is an elected official. He is quite delusional. Run from the man like a plague. Steve Parker wonders why he has no one to openly support him against Reese.
Think about it.
Although this letter was unsigned, it is a sure bet that it was written by Mike Dixon in cooberation with Bob Walker. Mike Dixon was in attendance at the Spartanburg County Republican Party meeting on that Saturday morning a few weeks ago. As soon as the breakfast meeting had concluded, Dixon departed. About ten minutes later Rick Lee received a telephone call from Bob Walker regarding the Spartanburg GOP meeting he was attending. Then, a few days later, Rick Lee received the anonymous letter.
Coincidence? Perhaps, but not likely. That is why Rick Lee decided to respond to the anonymous letter by sending Rep. Bob Walker and all of the Spartanburg County Republican Party officers the following letter written verbatim in its entirety:
I appreciate your phone call last Saturday. I have not been very involved in the Republican Party for the past twelve years, however, events of the past couple of week have certainly peeked my interest.
I do not agree with everything Rick Beltram has done as chairman of the party but I have not seen any evidence that he has committed any treasonous act. From the outside looking in, it appears to me that the efforts to oust him as chairman have become personal.
If the attached letter from someone to gutless to provide a return address or a signature is representative of his detractors, then my curiosity has been further aroused.
I plan to get more involved in the future and would appreciate any advice or guidance you could provide in this effort.
cc: Spartanburg County Republican Party Officers
This exchange between Rick Lee and Bob Walker is a perfect example of how it only takes a few political terrorists to stir up trouble. And that is exactly what this handful of Beltram-haters have done in Spartanburg County. Sadly, some of them are actually officers in the Spartanburg County GOP! The truth about who they are will eventually be revealed (most likely at the Spartanburg County Republican Party Convention in October when there will be a Chairman's election).
The agenda for the meeting went exactly as expected, which surprised many considering all of the tough talk that had been coming from the anti-Beltram faction in recent weeks. The political terrorists decided that the time was not right for an attack. But they will be back!
One thing is certain. These political terrorists will not be able to legally remove Rick Beltram as Chairman of the Spartanburg County Republican Party anytime soon. They have no grounds for doing so in Roberts Rules of Order or the SCGOP rules. There are no provisions in either of these documents that allow for the removal of a Chairman because he is disliked by members of the organization he leads. That is what an election at a county convention is for.
As much as these political terrorists would liked to have had their way at the Executive Committeeman meeting by removing Rick Beltram as Spartanburg GOP Chairman, they are obviously going to have to wait until October to have their chance (that is, if Beltram decides to run again for re-election).
In the meantime, I think some Republicans in Spartanburg County ought to seriously consider challenging Bob Walker for his seat in the state legislature. His heavy involvement in this local political matter should leave people wondering why he is not doing the work he was elected to do in the General Assembly. These questions will loom large for Bob Walker as he attempts to be re-elected in 2004.
Tell Bob Walker what you think about what he has done in Spartanburg County by sending him an e-mail at . Tell him we want a leader who will work for the people who elected him into office and not one who is willing to be a political terrorist wielding his power to attempt to destroy his political enemies.
Itís time to smoke out the rest of the political terrorists in the coming months in Spartanburg County! Let this be a warning to other local Republican Party organizations that the political terrorists are out there lurking in the shadows waiting for their opportunity to attack. Be sure you fight back!