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Posted on May 18, 2008 in Uncategorized

South Carolina GOP: Electability is Key

Today’s CBSNews.com had an interview with Katon Dawson, Chairman of the South Carolina GOP. Despite Dawson’s “safe responses” there was definitely a lot of information in this interview that the electorate needs to rule out before discarding any candidates from this race, as well as coining anyone the victor.

Dawson on Romney not focusing all his time on South Carolina:

I think that with as many undecided voters as there are right now, certainly you don’t like to go down in your political media. But there are a lot of undecideds out there in this race, and it’s up for grabs in South Carolina. So we will find out how well the strategy played. But Government Romney has got a strong team here, a strong presence here, for a little over a year.

Absolutely. Even though Governor Romney isn’t focusing on South Carolina, his poll numbers are still solid. However, what is even more interesting is how Dawson emphasizes the number of undecided voters in the state. Keep in mind, this is a state that commentators said would be a solid victory for Mike Huckabee do to the Evangelical vote.

I’ve heard commentators say that over 50% of the South Carolina Republican voting base identifies themselves as an Evangelical Christian. But only 24% of those polled say they are supporting Huckabee?

This was the same in Michigan, where optimistic commentators suggested that Huckabee would give Romney and McCain a run for their money due to the large Evangelical base in the state. That wasn’t the case.

Dawson even touched on this in the interview when asked if Romney’s religion effected him amongst South Carolinas large evangelical base

My opinion would be voters are looking for an entire package, not just one issue to disqualify you. But certainly Governor Romney has values that are very consistent with evangelical voters, and has run a good campaign here.

I always think this lumping and grouping into any type of category is very dangerous in South Carolina because we are a very independent state with independent voters. If evangelicals all voted the same, Pat Robertson certainly would have won here [in 1988].

Why don’t you hear more of this from the media? Anyone who has studied the modern Morman church understands that many of the values that they share are the same as the majority of most mainstream Christian faiths.

When discussing Senator McCain, Dawson also offered some more valuable insight into South Carolina politics:

I think Senator McCain certainly has had a good campaign staff in South Carolina the entire time. He is a war hero, and recognized for that. He has stuck to his message, and was right about the surge and where we are in the war on terror. And the voters, I think, are rewarding him with their favor right now for being very consistent with his message.

With that being said, there are more people in the race than there were in 2000. 2000 was basically limited to George Bush and John McCain. Right now you have got lots of very well-qualified candidates.

Focusing on the second part, this is something nobody in the MSM has really illustrated. In 2000 it was two major candidates and now in 2008 there are four.

Dawson went on to say:

Electability is huge. People want to know who could take the fight to the Democrats and retain the White House. I cannot tell you who that is right now.

Not only does this show that South Carolina is going to be a tight race, but also shows an alarming trend regarding the condition of the GOP. The party is fractured, and if the GOP loses I see a lot of people giving up hope on the partisan way of politics and simply identifying themselves as an independent.

I know many Republicans who are disappointed with all the infighting amongst the current candidates and have seriously considered the possibility of throwing their support behind the lesser of two evils on the Democratic side… usually Obama.

Either way, this election just gets more and more unpredictable, as well as more dangerous for the final condition of the party come November 5, 2008.

The article referred to has a variety of other great perspectives from Dawson in it, I urge you to read the article in its entirety.

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