County GOP News- February 11, 2008

The following opinion piece by South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson was posted yesterday on The Palmetto Scoop website.

Chairman Dawson does an excellent job of drawing a bright line as to the important fundamental differences between what SC Republicans stand for versus the SC Democrats, and reminding Republicans that "If we continue to hold fast to our principles - limited government, lower taxes and traditional values - we win."

Differences matter: Why South Carolina Republicans will be successful in 2008

By Katon Dawson

It has truly been an honor to serve as Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party for the last six years. We have held steadfast to time-honored ideals, and we have worked tirelessly to elect leaders who have used these ideals as positive governing principles. The South Carolina Republican Party has been successful - and will be even more successful this year - because we are unabashedly conservative.

Our Party platform starkly contrasts the platform of the South Carolina Democrat Party on every issue that is important to the voters in our state.

We have unapologetically defended the traditional values our country was founded on. We have affirmed our state Party platform's unequivocal position that life is the first inalienable right, and all human life, born and unborn, has intrinsic worth. We "believe that the unborn and the newborn child have a fundamental right to life which must not be infringed." (Page 6, SCGOP Platform) By contrast, Democrats passed a resolution supporting "a woman's right to reproductive choice and the freedom to make decisions concerning her health." (2007 SCDP State Convention Resolution #32) We have worked hard to successfully elect two South Carolina Republicans to the U.S. Senate for the first time since Reconstruction - U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint. They have teamed up with President George W. Bush to appoint and confirm conservative judges to the bench and stand firmly against the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion.

We have strengthened our families and communities by voting overwhelmingly in 2006 to prohibit same sex marriage. Conservatives led that fight by working hard to accomplish that goal.

Democrats continue to justify the excesses of big-government in Washington and Columbia even though voters have clearly taken a stand against this corrupt status quo. South Carolina Democrats are on the record in support of surplus state revenue being spent on government programs before it's returned to the taxpayers. (2007 SCDP State Convention Resolution #4,

But we are proud of Governor Mark Sanford and our Republican legislative leadership in Columbia who embody our state Party platform that calls for "sound fiscal management that provides effective and efficient government with a minimum amount of taxation." (Page 13, SCGOP Platform) They continue to fight for limited government that is a responsible steward of our tax dollars - slashing income taxes and property taxes and eliminating the sales tax on groceries. We are going to fight hard to elect a Republican to the White House in 2008 who will work with our South Carolina Republicans in Congress to make the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent because the meaningful relief delivered to millions of hardworking South Carolinians strengthened our economy.

Our conservative Republican leaders have also fought Democrats to make South Carolina business friendly and prosperous. The South Carolina Republican Party actively engaged the General Assembly on two of the most significant business issues in recent years: tort reform and workers' compensation reform. The Party spent financial resources and political capital to help get these important reforms passed, which had been blocked by Democrat state senators. Additionally, South Carolina Republicans "strongly support private property rights and just compensation" for property owners if government takes their land. (Page 6, SCGOP Platform) Meanwhile, South Carolina Democrats passed a resolution opposing fair and reasonable compensation for property owners if government takes their land. (2007 SCDP State Convention Resolution #19,

Most importantly, we have embraced the challenge of defending our very way of life in a battle with radical Islamic extremists who would kill every one of us. Since September 12, 2001, there has not been a terrorist attack on American soil. We have remained safe at home thanks to the decisive conservative leadership of our Republican officeholders using the resources of our military, intelligence services and law enforcement to capture and kill terrorists around the world.

These Republican leaders know that our freedom is at stake and reject the cynical politicization of the War on Terror by Democrats like Jim Clyburn who has said Democrats win if America loses in Iraq. Winning the war on terror may be politically inconvenient for Jim Clyburn, but losing the war on terror is incomprehensible for those who fight and die defending freedom.

If we continue to hold fast to our principles - limited government, lower taxes and traditional values - we win. We not only win the support of our fellow Republicans; we win the support of independents and reasonable Democrats.

Republicans across the country sure could learn a lesson from South Carolina.

Katon Dawson is the Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.He was first elected in 2002 and is the fifth longest-serving state chairman in the nation.


The issue of changing the Georgetown County school board elections from partisan to nonpartisan has recently come up.

Numerous national studies have shown that nonpartisan local elections tend to result in lower voter turnout, particularly among low income voters, than partisan elections, and favor affluent candidates, who have access to financial resources to fund campaigns in the absence of political party assistance and support.

A recent Newsweek article by Sharon Begely discusses how voters make decisions on which candidate to support and highlights the importance of political parties in the decision making process with the following statement:

"The fact that people have what is euphemistically called cognitive-processing limitations-most cannot or will not learn about and remember candidates' records or positions-means voters must substitute something else for that missing knowledge. What that something is has become a heated topic among scientists who study decision-making, and, of course, campaign strategists and pollsters. Some answers are clear, however. In general elections, a large fraction of voters use political party as that substitute, says psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University; some 60 percent typically choose a candidate solely or largely by party affiliation."

The Georgetown County Republican Party is opposed to nonpartisan county school board elections.