Georgetown County Republicans met in Pleasant Hill to hear several candidates for state and US offices

  • Friday, March 7, 2014

Joe Nooft/For The Times Rev. Leon Winn is running for the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District, seeking to unseat incumbent Democrat Jim Clyburn.

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Just a short way across County Line Road from Williamsburg County, Rev. Leon Winn was quite a hit with a group of Republicans.

On Thursday evening last week, the Georgetown County Republican Party hosted its County-Wide Dinner Meeting at the Pleasant Hill Community Center. The program included representatives from the campaigns of incumbent senator Lindsey Graham and freshman congressman Tom Rice. The dinner was also the occasion for announcing the new campaigns of the Reverend Leon Winn, who is contending for the 6th Congressional District Seat long held by Congressman Jim Clyburn, and Sally Atwater, who is running for State Superintendent of Education.

Wrenzie Rice spoke on behalf of her husband, 7th District Congressman Tom Rice, who has recently authored the petition with the recursive acronym STOP (Stop This Over-reaching Presidency) that seeks to bring suit against President Barack Obama for allegedly ignoring laws that have been passed by Congress. The petition currently has 114 co-sponsors, and while Mrs. Rice said the congressman’s committee meeting on it went well, she also said that the Republican leadership in the House is holding up the process to bring it to a floor vote. She updated the attendees on a 10-point plan that her husband has put together with Harvard Professor Dr. Michael Porter, an expert on national competitiveness “to help get our economy back on track, and to bring jobs back from overseas.”

The highlight of the evening, by far, was Winn, who spoke on his candidacy for Congress. Utilizing the strong profession of faith, humor, and authoritative tone that must serve him well as pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church, he outlined the core notion of his campaign that Congressman Clyburn can be beaten with effort and a paradigm shift in the electorate that Pastor Winn claims is much more easily attainable than is generally believed.

He told the story of meeting a man who, after hearing one of Winn’s rousing speeches, said “Pastor Winn, I’m not going to change my party affiliation, but I will support you.” And it’s the same story happening throughout the campaign trail. This, Winn says, is the key to winning. It’s the fact that people have continued to vote out of tradition, but yet have become more and more disenfranchised by their current representation that is reason enough to believe the idea that he can win. “If you want to change the way things are, you have to change the people in office,” he says.

Clyburn, who has been in the U.S. House since 1993, serves the 6th Congressional District. The western portion of Georgetown County was part of that district until 2012, when the 7th District was created. It includes all of Georgetown County.

Sally Atwater, widow of the late Republican consultant Lee Atwater, laid out her campaign for State Superintendent of Education, and opened with her objection to the new Common Core standards. After a brief stint at the U.S. Department of Education in the early ‘80s, she left to help her late husband on the re-election campaign of Ronald Reagan. In 2001, George W. Bush asked Mrs. Atwater to be the executive director of his presidential committee for people with intellectual disabilities, and while there for eight years, “What I saw was a waste of your taxpayer dollars [and] the redundancies within the programs all over the federal government.” She then left to come back to teach in South Carolina to impact the lives of students, and as State Superintendent, she believes she can positively affect the lives of all students in South Carolina.

Hope Walker, the South Carolina State Director of the Republican National Committee, shared information on the RNC’s “National Day of Action” — that took place this past Saturday — the 2014 victory plan, and the SCGOP’s “Red to the Roots” initiative. That is designed to help the Republican Party gain control of many of the county offices statewide that are currently held by Democrats. These are all programs created by the state party and the RNC in response to the premise that the Republican Party lost because it was not as technologically ready, nor engaged enough at the grass-roots level as the Democrats in 2012.

Randall Wallace extended the regrets of Senator Lindsey Graham for not being able to attend.

The speakers were all well received, as was the catering provided by R.L. Port.

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