South Carolina is a solidly red, Republican state – or so says the media and most observers. However, a closer look into history and the current state of politics might surprise you.
In 1974, a Lowcountry dentist named Jim Edwards waged a massive grassroots campaign to become our first Republican governor in one hundred years. And it was only within the last two decades that Republicans gained majorities in the South Carolina General Assembly and among our state’s nine Constitutional Officers.
Hard to believe? Consider that for the first half of the 1900s, South Carolina’s “Legislative Manuals” did not even list party affiliation because Democrats were the only office holders.
Today, South Carolina Republicans hold seventeen of eighteen state and federal offices including all nine aforementioned Constitutional offices, six of seven U.S. Congressional seats, and both U.S. Senate seats. These historic victories were spurred by fearless leaders like you who sought a better state through conservative ideas.
Those conservative ideas also work at the local level. As Republicans, we believe strongly in “home rule” – that local leaders know better than distant bureaucrats. Local leaders have a deep understanding of their communities and their needs. More importantly, local decisions on schools, taxes, and roads often have more impact on our day-to-day lives than decisions made in Washington, D.C. or Columbia.
In just the past several election cycles, taxpayers have been fleeced in countywide bond and tax referendums. Many other taxpayers continually scratch their heads when considering the lack of progress in their county governments.
The numbers don’t lie. Republicans hold decisive majorities in state offices. However, we hold a minority of local offices.
In South Carolina’s 46 counties, Democrats have 25 sheriffs, 29 clerks of courts, 25 coroners, 27 auditors, 25 treasurers, and 32 probate judges. Democrats also have a majority on 24 county councils, which is two less than last year thanks to your work!
Local elections, like all elections, have consequences. More often than not the consequences are tied to YOUR wallet. Considering that 65% of South Carolinians live in unincorporated county areas, this is especially important.
It’s time for change because our taxpayers deserve better. In 2014, the South Carolina Republican Party is launching its “Red to the Roots” campaign. Across the state, party leaders are focused on electing more Republicans to local office. Those party leaders are working to recruit strong candidates focused on good government and low taxes.
There is already one success story: In early June, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile officially joined the Republican Party. If other conservative-minded elected officials want to join our team, now is the time to get on board!
South Carolina’s counties overwhelmingly supported Governor Mitt Romney in 2012. Through hard work by our grassroots activists and through informing each county about what is at stake locally, South Carolina Republicans can continue the winning streak of conservative leadership brought by Governor Nikki Haley and others.
South Carolina’s reputation as a world leader will keep growing when every county has the kind of leadership its citizens deserve. Yet it’s a heavy anchor when those citizens are burdened by nearly 150 years of Democratic control. Tax and spend Democrats are now on notice in Lancaster County as well as all of South Carolina – their days are numbered!
Chairman, South Carolina Republican Party
P.S. – We need your help to make South Carolina “Red to the Roots.” Will you help with a $5 or $10 contribution TODAY?