Sunday, March 01, 2009

Is The Florence Cty. GOP About to Be Hijacked?


Is a 'Coup DeVille' Coming For The Local GOP Leadership ?
Rarely do I have much interesting to talk about when it comes to the local GOP doings, and I don't often break news, so this blog post may be one of my most serious and important ones ever. There is something nasty going on in the days leading to the March 14th Florence County Republican Convention...A coup appears to be in the works.
Here is what I can tell you from my experience. I joined a group called Pee Dee Republicans on Facebook this month. It sounded great, because the local party has not taken advantage of things like the internet and other media outlets to organize and get it's message out. At the last local meeting, we decided to release the phone bank list to get as many people to attend as possible. So far, we're all good here. Then it gets strange...
I got that followup call to attend the convention from someone who obviously didn't know who I was. To review it, I am the last Florence County GOP Vice -Chair, I am the current 6th Congressional Dsitrict Vice-Chair, and I'm a two time candidate for County and Federal offices. Yeah, I'll be at the convention lady, and I'll be leading... The call was odd, because they repeated kept askign me to come and support my county councilman, Ken Ard. Ken is not my councilman, he represents the Pamplico area, and he is not running for anything, so what was this call about? I soon found out.
While I haven't spoken directly to anyone involved, there appears to be a serious fracture in the local party. While this is okay in some counties where they are the overwhelming majority party, in Florence County, this is a fatl mistake, and it needs to be stopped before it starts.
For those of you who don't have any idea of our local party, there are two factions: the organized party that does the legwork, and the financial arm that pays the bills and raises the cash. These two sides never connect.
From what I can tell, the money men were very ticked off at the party for City Council candidate Glynn Willis losing his bid last November. Word is that the local GOP didn't put signs up sufficiently enough for Willis, although Willis handled most of that on is own. As far I know, Willis had enough signs up , and as my Democratic buddy P-Luv will attest, Willis got caught in a once in a generation political buzzsaw known as Barack Obama. To give you an idea of how well Willis did, Ed Robinson and Billy D. Williams were elected with about 300 votes - Willis had over 1500. I spoke to Willis after the election, and he has no regrets, and he doesn't blame anyone for his loss. Such is the chance you take when you run for a city-wide council seat. Someday, he will be a councilman.
But Ard and his friends don't see it that way, because it appears there is a movement to oust Chariman Tommy Phillips, executive Committeperson Shelby Phillips and Treasurer Tommy Grimes. I once spoke to Ard in 2006 when I was running to join him on County Council, and he talked to me about having inherited a big wad of cash upon his father passing, and that he now had the ability to shape things politically as he saw fit. I took that as an offer to assist my campaign, but that didn't happen. This appears to be the opening salvo.
I have received calls from people inside the party, and other calls have supposedly been made that can affect other people's occupations. My first piece of advice concerning that is this: as a guy who HAS lost his job because of his involvement in politics, cut the shit out. None of this is worth it....
Now, while it may sound like I'm 100% standing behind the Phillips', and all I want to do is squash this coup, that isn't at all what I'm saying. I understand the frustration. I was Vice-Chair for a year or so, and I was never let inside the loop or given any responsibility whatsoever. I'm not pleased that all of the decisions for the Florence County GOP are made on the kitchen table at a house on Pineland Drive. The party is a collective of thousands of people, and those voices need a platform, and to be heard.
So, like most problems, each side is a little right, and a little wrong. So, before we all gather on the 14th and start getting ugly with each other, what do we do? First off, we need to get Ard and the Phillips' together and ask Ard what he wants. If he expects to smoothly show up with his friends and take over, that won't happen. We have an excellent opportunity here in Florence. With Barack Obama's election, the alarm has gone off to many Republicans here who have been asleep to get out and stop watching things happen. The LAST thing we need is infighting.
Now, Ard cannot run for Chairman or any position, since he holds public office. Therefore, if he is planning on overthrowing the Phillips', he must have someone in mind. What we need to know is 'Who did you have in mind?'. Now, the chance is pretty good that the person Ard has in mind is not qualified, or has any knowledge of who is in the party. Part of the fault is that person's , part of it is Tommy and Shelby's. They have given no opportunity to train an eventual replacement for both of them, and that is not good for the party.
So, what is the solution? I'll suggest one. The Vice-Chair position has been open since I vacated it last year. Let Ard make his suggestion, and let him/her learn the ropes and pay his dues as Vice-Chair under the Phillips'. They in turn will prepare him/her for the Chairmanship, get to know the other county leaders, and allow him/her involvement in the decisionmaking process. I have one suggestion - make sure the person is someone who has vision and a future, not old party deadwood that has an axe to grind with the Phillips'.
Now, I know, this compromise makes way too much sense for it to work. This is the Pee Dee, and we'd rather burn the whole house down and fight over the ashes than fix the fireplace. Maybe they'd rather duke it out and leave the whole party bloodied and battered. I'm sure Ard and his supporters see this as a necessary step, but they're wrong. The might disagree, but we need to avoid the Nuclear Option here - we need each other.
.

27 comments:

pluvlaw said...

I think you know who makes the real decisions around here concerning the Republican party, and until recently concerning anything at all. And it ain't Ard, Phillips or anyone "with the county party."

You guys do have the chance to take some of that power from those people. I wish you the best of luck. Their time has come and gone. Florence will be better off when they aren't making the decisions.

pluvlaw said...

The idea that Glynn lost because of a lack of signs is ridiculous. That man was the closest I saw to Wukela as far as shoe leather and door-to-dooring. Signs and getting the word out was not the reason. You are absolutely right that he lost b/c of one reason: Obama.

mg said...

Yea Mike I been getting information and calls about you guys next door. Seems like quite a few folks are getting upset up your way. I spent quite a bit of time talking with people Friday afternoon over this. The way I understand it is during the Precinct Reorganization you elect your delegates to the convention from the precinct. During the convention of the county those delegates will vote for the county officers. This year the number of delegates per precinct is based on the number of GOP votes that were cast during the 2008 Presidental Primary. In other words say West Florence is entitled to 30 delegates then they would have 30 eligible delegates to vote at the county convention if those people showed up. Pamplico would not have enough delegates to go against the bigger precincts in Florence if the bigger precincts showed up. Check it out.

Mike Reino said...

Lately, we've had trouble just getting the 46 delegate spots filled. It may seem slanted towards the City of Florence, but it's the same formula that keeps Florence County from dominating the 6th District Conventions, and keeps us all down at the state convention. Otherwise what's to stop someone from getting a bus, paying everyone to bumrush the reorganization, and do exactly what the rumor is.

One fact is, aside from the occasional mixer, 90% of these people don't attend any County GOP meetings, except for the reorganization. Personally, that is my primary factor in voting for delegates - do I see you every second Monday or not?


No, it isn't perfect, but it keeps one guy from causing trouble.

mg said...

you need to call me at the lake just left you a message

mg said...

Mike the way the SCGOP did it this year we have 91 delegates for our precincts of course we are not going to have that many show and if we did say for example Jordan has 15 of those spots Davis Station 9 New Zion 3 and on and on. Some precincts we should have the delagate allocation for that precinct filled some precincts we want. These delegates from the precinct are the only people allowed to vote for county officers the way I understand it and also for the state delegates that will be elected at county convention. Last state convention we had 7 delegate spots and I presume we will match that amount this year I have not been told yet. Florence I presume would have the amount of delegates last time not unless the SCGOP figures some other way the precinct delegates again were based on the amount of GOP votes in the 2008 presidental primary per precinct. If a large precinct say Summerton 1had only a few votes on the GOP side and a small precinct say New Zion really turned out more votes then New Zion would have more precinct delegates than Summerton 1. Just an example. Sumter county has several hundred spots for precinct delegates and I would imagine Florence does also. This does not mean Sumter county has several hundred delegates at the state convention. Have I lost you yet.

Mike Reino said...

I understand the process, but the opposition isn't just based in Pamplico.

Earl Capps said...

Mike Reino returns no man's calls. He is above us mere mortals, who need telephonic communication in order to exist.

Mitch said...

Mike--I understand your frustration. We've got a similar situation here in Spartanburg with people organizig to get rid of Rick Beltram (he is running for county chair again too). Although I am on their side, so I say let the hijacking commence!

greeleyville mg said...

Spartanburg better keep Rick if does not win the SCGOP Chair if you dont want to go backwards

Heisenburg said...

Simple question...
Regrdless of the side of the fence you are on this particular issue...

How is going through the legal proceedings, like ensuring a fair election of delegates and officers.. a coup...

By definition, a coup is a take over by force, not by using the democratic process...

As an aside... how can Tommy or Ken complain... it is developing interest for the Florence GOP for the first time in a long time... How is that a bad thing...

Keep in mind... both Tommy's camp and Kens camp want whats best for the country... and both should be, and from my understandind are.. respecting the legal proceedings...

Mike Reino said...

Well, the 'coup' term was for dramatic purposes to an extent. After all, this IS a blog, not the NY Times...

The proceedings being legal isn't my concern, as much as the decorum that it's done . I spoke with Ken earlier today, and he and Tommy are going to meet up with each other, hash some things out, and hopefully agree on things. Ken wanted to make it clear that he is not leading this charge, more so just he is the highest profile guy who agrees with them.

I've offered to help out with airing this out,and Ken has accepted. I suppose Tommy will have no problem either. What ever happens , I'll let you all know.

Anonymous said...

Ken Ard can be an elected offical and also be an officer in his local Republican Party. The only exception is this - a local Republican Party offical (Chairman or Vice-Chair)is leagally required to relinquish his / her position only if they later run for an office and have a challenger in a Republican primary.

Anonymous said...

Press Release-March 1, 2009-6:00pm

Who are the Pee Dee Republicans? We are a group of men and women across Florence County who believe in the core beliefs of the Republican Party and its creed. The Pee Dee Republicans formed in early fall as a social networking group of volunteers who worked long hours throughout the 2008 general election.

The 2008 election will forever be remembered by one word, change. This past election brought a surge of new voter turn out and record number of absentee and early voting numbers than ever before in voting history.

As Republicans, we must get back to our core beliefs but also be motivated, prepared, and ready to take action and win back our local, state, and national offices.

The Pee Dee Republicans are people who came together to reorganize the Florence County Republican Party holding true to our core beliefs and principals.

The Pee Dee Republicans support a slate of candidates who will be running for offices within the existing Florence County Republican Party. This is not a newly formed party nor is it a movement to create a second Republican party within in the county. This is just our projected slate of candidates to bring the Republican party into victory in 2010.

The candidates Pee Dee Republicans endorse for office in the Florence County Republican Party include: Chairman: Ken Ard who currently is in his second term as Florence County Councilman District 2. First Vice Chairman: Dr. Joe Griffin who operates Advanced Dental Center. 2nd Vice Chairman: Kevin Smith who served as Deputy Project Advisor for the late Senator Strom Thurmond. 3rd Vice Chairman: Jamie Lee Rogers, a student at Francis Marion University, who is the candidate for Florence County Young Republicans. Stephanie McLaughlin Rawlinson, Broker in Charge of McLaughlin Company Commercial Realty is running for Florence County representative to the Republican State Executive Committee.

The proposed appointed officers to the Florence County Republican Party that Pee Dee Republicans endorse include: Bette Cox, Secretary, Pamela Ratliffe, Treasurer, Brad Richardson, Fundraising, Josh Lockhart, Communications, and Julian Young, Candidate Recruitment.

www.peedeerepublicans.com.

Truth said...

called the state party to verify the facts above. State party officials confirmed Ken Ard is eligiable to run for County Party Chairman. Ask the state GOP yourself. Katie Baham- kbham@sc.gop.com- 803-988-8440 .

Concerned said...

Problems have been relevant in the County Party, but not as relevant as those that occurred in the 2008 Election. Where was our notorious leader Tommy when needed. He was never at headquarters, he would never give money to supply the headquarters with food, or whatever else was needed. Where was he when we needed signs put out at 3am before election day near the precincts. WE DON'T KNOW....he was quote at home with his feet up because he was tired and his leg was bothering him...whatever.

The precincts brings me to our newest issue in Florence County...where are the precinct packets that were supposed to be handed out in the February 2009 County Meeting...in the trunk of his wife's car...after a motion to provide the packets he still neglected to do so after numerous phone calls and attempts from party member in the community. He has never provided those packets. I am glad to have an option from the same old we have had in the past.

disgusted said...

At headquarters at the last election when an elderly lady asked Tommy not to smoke, he said this was his party and he was the chairman and he would smoke here if he wanted to. He literally and figuratively blew smoke in our faces. Numberous people have wanted to help in the past and it was Tommy's way or no way. I for one am tired of it being the TOMMY SHOW.

kick them all out said...

its beginning to sound more like a coup to me

Hemingway fan said...

I've been hearing down in Williamsburg that this is the old Christain Coalition that about ruined the party several years before my day and caused the Horry party to split into pieces

mg said...

So Mike why aint you on this list

Mike Reino said...

Sorry for the delay in commenting - I was in Charlotte on business. I don't think this involves the Old CC directly, although some may be. From what Ken told me, many are from the Young Republicans.

I'm not on it, because no one asked me to attend the meeting that the candidates, although I was asked to consider running for Chair by one of the Pee Dee Republicans members. I have no available time to serve as Chairman. When the slate of candidates was chosen is unknown to me. It's that covertness that concerns me. Personally, I would prefer they air their grievances at the meetings, and if they win, they win in a better way in my book.


As far as the cigarette incident, I'm sure Tommy would apologize for being inconsiderate, and probably think twice about it .

Hemingway Fan said...

Ok is it the anti tobacco lobbyist sponsored group you guys are up against

Anonymous said...

Hey man you getting a lot of traffic on this one time to do a new article about it.

mg said...

Mike what is the latest

Anonymous said...

ok man we want more information on the PD GOP i was at the sumter county meeting last night it was the talk of the event when the meeting was over

Mike Reino said...

You can look up their info on their Facebook page. There hasn't been any news from my end since I spoke to Ken Ard on Monday. He and Tommy Phillips were scheduled to pow-wow on Weds. I haven't heard anything yet. I'll make some calls over the weekend w/ the latest pop towards resolving this.

Anonymous said...

Mike is was nice meeting you tonight...this SC6 Blog has been a very interesting read....How true any of it is I do not know and I am not sure you do either. Dr Thomas Sowell says Republicans have the most qualified people for public service...yet they just aren't very good candidates. When I ask my neighbors about precinct reorganization they have never heard of it,they think I want them to work the Polls. I ask do you belong to the republican party they say "yes" because they sent money to become a member(RNC). They are so busy enjoying their freedoms they have no time for local politics. Well, I say it is high time we do something about it. It is high time some of us care about our country, our state , our county, our community and not just ourselves or our "POWER" after all it was only a few years ago Barrak Obama was walking around in the "GRASSROOTS" at some Precinct meeting and look where we are now. I hope all over this country people are turning their communities up side down for the GOP. And those of you who have the knowledge of how it all works...for heaven sakes go.. get the folks...bring them in...teach em..lets win our country back.. together we can!!!