PICKENS COUNTY—South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly told a group of Pickens County Republicans that now is not the time to look back.
Connelly aimed to rally Pickens County GOP members at a recent meeting last week, saying an effort to turn things around would require aggression.
“We can’t afford to look at the past. We have to move forward,” Connelly said. “We need all hands on deck. We’ve got the majority in the house, the majority in the senate and we should be able to get things done.”
Connelly said he believes there was a problem with the Republican message in the 2012 general elections.
“Republicans didn’t watch what they said (during the 2012 elections),” Connelly said. “We weren’t smart with our message. We don’t need to change what we believe in. We don’t need to change our core values. We need to change how we deliver it.”
Many Republicans were kicked off the ballot last year and were forced to run as petition candidates. This hurt the party, Connelly said.
“We’ve got to be a lot more aggressive,” Chad Connelly said. “We had to play defense this past year with so many people being kicked off the ballot. Hopefully all that has been taken care of and we can move on.”
“We’re in trouble as a nation,” Connelly continued. “We need people’s involvement. We can’t fix it all, but we can work on it every single day. There’s no time to be demoralized. We have to look forward. Anything that makes us look behind as a party hurts the party.”
Connelly said local republicans need to focus on unity and getting things done.
“All the media wants is for us to go at each other and divide,” Connelly said. “We have to have discussions. We have to figure out where we can get things done, and we have to work with people on our side.”
One way to get things done could be precinct reorganization, according to Pickens GOP Chairman Phillip Bowers.
Bowers said precinct organization is critical to the future of the Republican Party, and achieving real reform at all levels of government.
“We have critical elections coming up next year,” Bowers said. “(We) have an opportunity to help ensure that politicians claiming to represent the Republican Party actually do represent our values.”
Precinct Reorganization allows a restructuring of leadership in a particular precinct, in which residents and taxpayers can choose to run for office. The reorganization is done every two years.
Bowers said current Republican representatives may not have the party’s core values in mind.
“We currently have individuals who claim to represent us proposing legislation that is in direct conflict with our party platform, or supporting legislation that grows government and infringes on party rights of free association and operation,” Bowers said. “We even have some who claim to be Republicans proposing legislation to raise taxes while allowing state agencies to waste millions. Our trademark is being tarnished by these politicians.”
Bowers said precinct organization is the GOP’s chance to get involved and help steer the party, and those who represent it, in the right direction.
“It starts with the community you live in. We elect folks here, and those folks elect representatives to go to the county party the county party then organizes those folks and elect leaders to go to the state party,” Bowers said. “It’s a stair step process, but it all starts in the local precinct.”
Precinct Reorganization will be held on Mar. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Rosewood Center in Liberty. There will be a fee of $10 for all those wishing to cast their name into the reorganization.