Members of our Republican family –
Keeping our First in the South status is a huge deal and we are very excited that our hard work is paying off. Please take a minute to read this fantastic editorial by The Sun News.
Have a great day,
Regardless of what party you vote for, it’s hard not to be pleased with the news that the S.C. Republican Party seems poised to hold on to our state’s “First-in-the-South” position on the GOP presidential primary calendar.
Both parties’ primary campaigns in 2008 gave local voters a chance to see and hear the candidates for president far more closely than most of the rest of the country could. President Obama spoke to a crowd of little more than a thousand at Coastal Carolina University in August 2007, well before the mega-rallies that characterized his general-election campaign, and the crowded Republican field led to even more up-close events, such as U.S. Sen. John McCain’s meeting with a hundred or so residents in the Tilghman Forest clubhouse in North Myrtle Beach.
Of course, barring any unforeseeable circumstances, Obama will be the Democratic nominee in 2012, and thus is unlikely to spend much time campaigning in red-leaning states like South Carolina, focusing instead on swing states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and so on. The Republican field, however, is wide open. There are marquee names like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, lesser-known contenders like Tim Pawlenty, John Thune, Haley Barbour, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum and (of course) Ron Paul, and plenty of time for an as-yet -unconsidered candidate (like Obama was at this point in 2006) to steal the spotlight.
If you don’t know all these names now, our early primary will ensure that you will. These Republicans’ attention will undoubtedly be intensely focused on South Carolina, given its uncanny predictive ability in presidential contests (since 1980, S.C.’s choice has gone on to become the party’s nominee in every presidential election). Just as in 2008, we can expect a flurry of campaign stops in our pancake houses, high school gyms, tourist attractions, anywhere they believe they can pack in a crowd.
From a national standpoint, the decision hopefully represents progress beyond the chaotic jumble that the electoral map became in 2008, when states pushing to the front of the line in hopes of similar early-primary consideration forced the calendar well into January. For 2012, the Republicans and Democrats are pursuing a more orderly solution: the four early-voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada) are allowed to hold primaries in February, and the rest must begin after the first Tuesday in March.
Further, the Republicans are specifying that any state that holds a primary in March must award delegates proportionately, instead of in a winner-take-all fashion, said S.C. Republican Party spokesman Joel Sawyer. The intent of that measure is to reduce the influence of a “Super Tuesday” (when one primary day effectively decides the nomination), keeping the contest open longer and involving as many states as possible in the nominating process.
Democrats will be taking up the issue this weekend in a meeting of their party’s rules committee, said state Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Fowler, and she said she expects similar efforts to be discussed. Another consideration for the national party (explored by a commission headed by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn) is reducing the number of so-called “superdelegates,” to avoid the possibility that was raised in 2008 that in a close contest, the votes of appointed party officials could swing the nomination away from the candidate chosen in state primary elections.
National Republicans must still give their plan a final vote in August, Sawyer said. Democrats feel less urgency in the matter, not expecting another open primary until 2016. Either way, we hope both of our state parties are successful keeping us near the front of the line.