Sunday, April 22, 2012

A New District.... And New Leadership

Elijah Jones Wins a Barnburner of a Second Vote to Become the 7th District's First Chairman.  Georgetown's Jerry Rovner Wins the Vice Chair Easily on the First Vote..


    Normally, we post events like these right after they occur, so that we might be the first to get the returns to you.  Yesterday, it was almost impossible... Why? Because we were pretty involved in the races, and by the end of it all, our blood pressure was so high, we had to spend all day yesterday to recover.  Whatever we had, we're not quite recovered, and we paid for it - and we weren't the only ones.  Half of those involved were in wheelchairs, canes, wheezing, coughing or pale!  We truly were a group of the walking wounded.  Campaigning is hard work...


   We'll do our best to be the New York Times of the 7th District Convention.  That is, to be the blog of record on the day's events.. Yesterday was expected to be a tough race for the Chairman's job, and it was that and much more.. Things don't always go the way you think.  We got one prediction wrong, which turned the second vote in a way that NO ONE thought it would, and the two remaining camps scrambled for delegates that they didn't think they were going to have to.... But we'll get back to that in a bit.


   It was a fully day at West Florence High yesterday.. For us, it started at Bean Groovy, for Andre Bauer's pre-convention breakfast meeting. We might have been there a tad early, but there were about 20 people there.  To Bauer's credit, he was working constantly, as usual, throughout the entire day. During the convention, he spent hours calling voters outside the auditorium. Plus, he remembered us, which is always nice. Our only criticism was Bean Groovy's breakfast selection was less than what we consider breakfast, so we made a beeline at the Waffle House around the corner, and loaded up on Hash Browns, a Fiesta Omelet and a big cup of OJ.  After all, it was going to be a big day..


   As much fun as the actual convention can be, the real fun is mingling before the convention.  After all, until the votes are cast, you need to shake as many hands as possible - because it does pay off eventually..

I ran into Horry County Chair Johnnie Bellamy, and I told her I was sorry about her delegates having to make such tough arrangements getting here.. Hotel rooms, renting TWO 15 passenger vans or getting up real early - these guys went through a lot.






But each event can cause heartbreak as well... Tom Grimes consoles his fellow Horseman Earl Capps when Earl saw the OTHER ponytailed guy dressed pretty oddly at the convention!  No one likes a copycat..





Convention Chairman Alan Clemmons and House 68 Candidate and friend Heather Ammons Crawford pose for us before the fun begins...





   At long last, the gavel was struck by Florence County Chair, Bill Pickle.  It started a bit slow to get the formalities done, but that happens.  A note to a few members of the Pee Dee: The 7th District is the Pee Dee AND Grand Strand.. On a few occasions we heard it mentioned as the 'Pee Dee District'.  When you do that, you twist that knife of division a bit more each time you say it...


We did have a few statewide elected officials attend and speak at the convention, led by Governor Nikki Haley. We didn't really see any signs of the book signing mentioned ahead of time, but she gave a good opening speech.  Haley highlighted the major topics affecting South Carolina: unemployment, Boeing, Voter ID, immigration reform, replacing the Budget and Control Board, and of course, beating Barack Obama... 



SC Education Superintendent Mick Zais spoke next, and was nice and brief.  We'd never seen him before, and we were tipped that he has a tendency to be a bit, uhh, loquacious.  But, he limited it to discussing Charter Schools and the Teacher Protection Act.  Another observation: he's taller than he looks in pictures, not that it's important, but funny things hit you on the trail sometimes...


We apologize for the lack on pictures from inside the auditorium.  Not being a delegate, we sat in the very last row, which doesn't lead to good pics.  Also, when the Governor's security is there, getting too close isn't a good idea. In the light of the Secret Service scandal, we're sure these guys are doing their jobs t the max right now...


Another note: the delegate turnout was very good - 116 of the 125 delegates came or had alternates. However, we think the $15 cover for visitors backfired a bit.  Aside from the three Horsemen, we didn't see too many non-delegates there.  Only political junkies like us would pay to go here... Also, the lack of elected officials aside from Haley and Zais stunned us a bit.  The only other current office holders there were Clemmons, Phillip Lowe and Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone.  There is still a disconnect between those holding office and the party itself, and that needs to be addressed in the future...


Now, onto the main purpose of the convention - electing officials.  Tom Grimes, Carol Padgett and Elijah Jones all gave good speeches. It's kind of a formality, because, as Jerry Rovner put it, most delegates made their minds up.  The Vice-Chair was a much harder to read race.  Brad Richardson did attend the convention, just a day after being hospitalized, thanks to the wheelchair and the effort of his girlfriend.  Brad is a real trooper, and it was great to see him feeling better.  Tommy Phillips gave a decent speech as well, although he got a slightly tepid applause compared to the others. It's clear that Tommy still has a couple fences to mend from the 2008 race.  Jerry Rovner had possibly the funniest moment of the day.


 A pretty tall guy, Rovner went to take the mic of the podium - and proceeded to rip the whole damn thing off the stand!  For those of you who might have heard 'Now THAT'S a strong candidate' from the back.... that was me!  Rovner's resume was strong, and our first thought was that if he had gone to more counties and given those qualifications, he'd win in a cakewalk.  It turns out, he didn't need to...


   During the lunch break ( I liked my double chocolate chip cookie and chips, but my sandwich was too small), the votes were tallied, and Rovner won handily, with 60 votes to 27 for Phillips and 24 for Richardson...  Horry County's Cleo Steele won the Secretary's position in absentia by acclimation...The Chairman race was a total shock to all three camps.  Yes, we got one thing wrong yesterday - the Horry delegation did not vote fully as a block, and it changed the path of the second vote completely.  Our expectation was that Horry and Georgetown would vote en masse for Padgett, and whichever between Grimes and Jones finish third would drop out.  Instead, 15 votes from Horry went for Jones, which allowed Jones to finish first with 49, Grimes second with 34, and Padgett a stunning third with 31.. My guess is Elijah was rewarded by Alan Clemmons and some others for his work during the districting process. In one way, it was better he did, because if Padgett got those votes, both Jones and Grimes would have 34... and who would back out then. Oh crap, now what?


Suddenly, the whole second vote was a free for all... Horry County was now what it wasn't in the first vote - the Kingmaker.  Or so it seemed... Tom went to Johnnie Bellamy, and she delivered close to all the non-Jones votes to Grimes.  25 of the 29 delegates went to Tommy, making the new Horry total 25-19 Grimes, and it seemed like a second round comeback was complete.  But, in hindsight, we made a major tactical error.



     What we did was go all-out at Horry County, and turn that 15 vote deficit into a 6 vote win.  But what we should have done was send two guys out - one to Horry, and one to Georgetown.  We didn't, and Georgetown went for Elijah Jones 12-0.. Adjusting for a few delegates who left after the first vote, Elijah pulled out a 58-54 second vote squeaker - and we now had a new Chairman..


   From that point, we'll be honest: we stopped paying much attention... SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly arrived and spoke briefly, then they allowed the Congressional candidates in attendance - Bauer, Jay Jordan, Randal Wallace, Tom Rice, Chad Prosser and Katherine Jenerette - to speak.  Renee Culler, Dick Withington and Jim Mader did not attend... Then to close, Elijah Jones gave his acceptance speech, and the convention was over.


    It was a long day, and the physical toll it took on me got me worried.  Obviously, I not fully back to health.  I never looked to redfaced and exhausted in my life, so I went home, and skipped Jay Jordan's BBQ... The good thing was that with the new District, it instilled a feeling of reconciliation amongst a lot of us.  The winners were humble and the losers didn't cry.  I think we stunned a lot of people by nearly pulling this thing off.  Taking this race to a four vote second round loss - without winning a single vote in your home county - showed we have a lot of friends.  We made some new ones, and patched some old ones as well.  Heck, I even got a couple new Facebook requests!  How long it lasts remains to be seen, but that is the real value of the conventions: not to select leaders, but to reacquaint with party members, and make new ones.  Heck, we might even have a new Horsemen or two joining the club.. You've been warned!   Congrats to Elijah, Jerry , Cleo, and to National Delegates Jim Jerow and Alan Clemmons...


.

19 comments:

mg said...

We knew Tommy was a huge underdog in this. I give him credit for staying the course and if we had given a little bit more each we probably could had pulled it off. We never showed our hand. We knew that the rural counties except Georgetown would fall in place for TEG. We underestimated Alan Clemmons getting involved for Jones. That was the key. Bill Pickle endorsement was just that a pickle. Everyone knew how Florence was going to go unless a couple of Alternates got moved up. Still it is sad that the only vote you get in your home county is your own. To be able to almost overcome those odds really is remarkable in itself. I hope it also shows certain people it really ain't about themselves but all of them together. Georgetown was a surprise. That was more of an anti Bellamy and pro Clemmons vote than an anti TEG and pro Jones vote. We should had worked that group. Also the Horry vote was a favor for Clemmons in the votes that Jones got except a couple that we do not need to expose. With that said I hope the Seventh can bring it together and get a Republican Congressman elected. If they don't then it is egg on the face of a lot of people in particular Alan Clemmons, The Florence GOP Leadership and the always at war Horry GOP. I will do all I can to help and yes my money is on Andre Bauer. No one works as hard. No one can raise the money except him. No one can pull votes outside the GOP like him. But who knows I am wrong some in politics and elections but I am still a Fiscal Conservative Republican and a Horseman.

Anonymous said...

As was predicted the horsemen are done. Your either for us or against us and grimes has never been and never will be one of us.

pluvlaw said...

'Florence Mayor Kenney Boone"?

Sorry your bud lost.

Mike Reino said...

Yikes! I DID put 'Mayor', didn't I? Freudian slip. Make sure to tell Hickory Head he's going to have to change his name!

Mike Reino said...

Yeah, I have a pretty good idea who this is.. It's not hard to tell when everyone stops by and is civil except one person. Good thing you are the only one who has that feeling.

Red said...

Who put that Horseman stuff up there. If you took the votes from Florence away from Jones then Grimes would had won hands down. It would not had been close. That is with giving Jones the Georgetown vote. Without Florence Grimes would have had a 53 to 37 victory. So who really was the person that got most of the votes outside of Florence? Grimes did. Now remember this District has 8 counties. If you look at the Pickle endorsement of Jones he stated that there was no group that was a block against any candidate or area of the Pee Dee. I do not live in the Pee Dee. I live in the Grand Strand and I was sick of hearing that bunch Pee Dee this and Pee Dee that. If it was not for us Florence would not be in the Seventh. You guys try and take all the credit for the Seventh when it was all about the Grand Strand and Horry County. If a Republican wins the Congressional race it want be because of any of the rest of the counties but it will be because of the turn out in Horry. One more thing the Horry bunch is not always at war with each other. We just think as a individual should making up our own mind not like some of you do by voting for whom you are told. Just telling it like it is.

Anonymous said...

You do not know crap Reino. We seen you and your friends Graham, Capps and Grimes trying to persuade people to back Grimes and it back fired on all four of you. Did you dudes really think you had a chance with this thing. Florence rules and we proved it Saturday. The Four Horseman are dead meat ready for dog food.

Mike Reino said...

Let me get this straight.. You guys us every media outlet possible to promote your pics, spend a ton of cash on cards, while all we did was hop in the car and make a few phones calls. In the end, you won by four votes on a SECOND ballot, carrying only 2 of eight counties - and we're dead? You really are foolish....

I wouldn't say turning Horry from a 15 delegate loss to a six delegate win in five minutes was backfiring. All we didn't do was go to Georgetown - that was our only mistake.

At the end of the day, we made more friends than we walked in with, and some made more enemies. We have allies in 21 counties now, nearly half the state! You guys have a lot of work to do, and the mantra 'Florence Rules' and 'Pee Dee District' aren't gonna mend those fences.. You're never gonna learn, are you CE?

Anonymous said...

I really ain't a Fan but certainly am not an Enemy. I have followed you Four Horseman for a couple of years and I must say I was impressed at almost pulling this thing off Saturday. You guys really stirred the pot and if the Seventh do not find a home for you and Grimes then something is bad wrong also the Florence party. First we in the Florence party should apoligize to Grimes for trashing him but you know which two did that. It is bitter divisions in Florence right now. It seemed like it would ease if Jones got elected but I believe now the members in Florence realize just what happened and how close it was also that it took the person that was over redistricting to step in Alan Clemmons to save it for them. He did the same for Florence when a couple of precincts besides the ones that did get left out of the new district. I hope Jones realize that he got beat up pretty bad except Florence and Georgetown and that he will offer some olive branch to you and Grimes. Maybe your other two friends as well. We know what Capps can do with his blog and you also of course. We seen the respect that Grimes had in the Sixth and now in most of the Seventh. We also know that Graham if he keeps it up will be a legend in his area and most of SC. A lot of us here wonder why a small county Chairman can get such mileage in the GOP. The Committee's, the Boards also National Delegate and no matter how many people in Florence dislikes him and the rest of you they still admire the tenacity and the approach and also the out come. Try not to pay much attention to the haters. You guys need to be as proud as the ones elected. If I could do it over I believe I may have voted a different way. I felt terrible knowing how much hurt we caused. I really had a hard time speaking to Grimes and the rest of you after the election.

Mike Reino said...

That may have been the most respectful thing anyone has ever written me here. Thanks! Trust me, I am not hurt at all - just tired - and Elijah has taken every step to ensure that we're not upset or planning on working against him...

I know my commentary often will step on a toe or two, but it is for the betterment of the party. Deep down, I am actually a pretty nice person. I've never had an actual argument in politics. Disagreement is fine, but I do respect everyone who works here, and recognize their strengths. I think we did earn a lot of respect here this weekend, and I think telling Tom Grimes and Tommy Phillips thanks for all their work would be great...

Rich Miller said...

It's funny the same people who trash Capps behind his back and complain that he is unfair towards Jones were the same people who were beside themseleves when he was dropping some pretty potent shots on their nemesis Ed Clements back in 2010. Truth be known, his blog articles caused them many times more worry than anything RMP's campaign ever did.

The question one should ask is how many more offices does the Florence GOP hold now than they did before the current gang took over? It's about the only county that goes GOP for Presidents and in congress races, but has a large courthouse Democratic majority.

Grimes and Reino intimidate them because they don't follow orders, Graham ticks them off because he has offices and they can't touch him and Capps gets at them because they know he's right and are afraid he'll tell truth on them before the next county convention. So all they can do is trash them without putting their names on their comments and hope it works.

But not much of anything they do ever works. It usually backfires, so don't be surprised if Grimes and/or Reino are FLGOP officers after the next convention. This bunch doesn't know how to leave well enough alone.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Miller with all due respect we aren't afraid of Tom Grimes. He has no integrity or respect except in a few places where people don't really know him. We proved that with the 21-1whipping we handed him this time, hopefully be to ashamed and never come back to any of our meeting. And by the way Bill is right, this is the Pee Dee's district!

Anonymous said...

And by the way if Horry, Darlington or Marion love him so much they can have him!

Anonymous said...

4.17, before you say it's the Pee Dee's district, please take note of the fact that every elected post went to a Grand Strand resident save one. Your "victory" resulted in giving the Grand Strand almost 100% of the posts. Yep, that's a bunch of people I'd be scared of. Got me shaking in my boots there buddy.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, Tom never expected you to be scared of him. He never game a damm what you thought of him, just like he doesn't care much about any of you. People are getting tired of this 9th grade drama queen crap where you obsess over what people think about you and how you're the only one whose "feeling" have been hurt.

mg said...

I have no comment right now. I do not even know what to say.

earlcapps said...

I can feel the love here. I want to thank my fans for thinking I'm great, and my enemies for really believing I have powers far beyond any I'd ever imagined that I'd have. Pretty cool that the Horsemen are so threatening. Now THAT is power!

Anonymous said...

This is just to funny to be real.

Mike Reino said...

I'm sorry Anon 811, but I was there, and it's all true...