As you all know, for the last two and a half months we have been incredibly focused on meeting our December 7 deadline for the “Milliken Match,” our effort to raise enough money to pay off our mortgage debt at the state Republican Party Headquarters.
The reason for doing so is simple: owning our building free and clear will allow us to devote more resources toward electing Republicans in 2010, which is what our state party is all about. Through the hard work and persistence of many, we achieved our goal.
In short, we raised over $370,000 in less than 90 days during some of the most difficult economic times in recent memory. The list of people to thank for this success is endless, but in the spirit of keeping this update fairly brief, I will limit my list to four!
The concept was born through Chairman Katon Dawson, who understood the party headquarters as a key element in establishing a strong party. Roger Milliken had the vision, and it was his generosity that led to the dollar for dollar match that made today’s celebration possible. Ambassador David Wilkins championed all the fundraising for the Millliken Match, and former Governor Jim Edwards continues to lead the charge in raising the critical dollars for building renovations and sustainability.
We were also all reminded of just how important Roger Milliken has been in making the Republican Party what it is today. As governor Edwards noted during our celebration Friday, Roger Milliken was literally responsible for creating a two-party system in South Carolina, bringing the SC GOP from its infancy to what it is today. We all owe him our thanks, and I invite each of you to come and see the newly named “Milliken Republican Center” in Columbia if you have not done so already.
In other news, our state Executive Committee welcomed two very special guests to our quarterly meeting on Saturday – state House Speaker Bobby Harrell and U.S. Congressman Thad McCotter, chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee. Speaker Harrell updated our Committee on the three issues selected by our county leadership as being most important during this legislative session – photo ID for voting, registration by party, and more transparency. Progress has been made on each, but it is going to take a grassroots effort on the part of all of us to make sure these important issues become law. Congressman McCotter was also incredibly well received by our Executive Committee, as he updated us on what our Republican team in Washington is doing to fight back against President Obama’s radical spending agenda, and what Republicans are doing to make sure we stand strong in the War on Terror.
We were also pleased to report that an audit of our Party’s finances for the year has been completed, and we were thrilled by the news. Not only do we now own our building outright, but since being elected Chairman in May, we raised a 32 percent more than our entire yearly budget for the year. That, again, is a testament to the hard work and generosity of Republicans across the state.
Finally, I wanted to take a minute to share news of some new faces at our state Party. Many of you are already aware of this, but our Executive Director, Ryan Meerstein, has accepted a job opportunity in Ohio, one that as much as we all hate to lose him, is a great opportunity for him.
That being said, I am incredibly pleased to announce that we have named Todd Kincannon as our new Executive Director, effective beginning today. Many of you already know Todd, who has been a longtime activist in our Party and most recently served as our Party’s general counsel. We are fortunate to have two individuals of this caliber serve as back to back state directors. In addition, Glenn O’Connell has fulfilled his transitional role as State Treasurer and as such is stepping down. John Cattano has agreed to serve as State Treasurer, with Dan Herren serving as Deputy State Treasurer.
Again, thanks for all that you do to make our Republican Party a success.