SCGOP Executive Committee Will Control Greenville’s Precinct Reorganization and County Convention
On Saturday, February 4th, on a motion recommendation from the Rules Committee, The South Carolina Republican Party’s (SCGOP) Executive Committee took a voice vote in Columbia where more than forty were in favor with only three members in opposition to exert authority over Greenville Republican Party’s (GCRP) 2023 precinct reorganization (reorg) and its county convention. SCGOP and its staff will oversee Greenville’s precinct reorg meetings and their county convention and will allow the precinct presidents to run their meetings in a safe and organized manner.
While SCGOP says that their recent takeover is allowed based on the State’s Party Rule 2(b), which states, "The State Executive Committee shall be the final arbiter of all disputes under these Rules or inferior rules adopted under the authority of these Rules," the GCRP attempted in a non-Republican Party email blast from MYSCGOP to counter the SCGOP’s vote by making a general reference to SC Code of Law Unannotated, Title 7 – Elections, Chapter 9 regarding party organization due to their reference to SCGOP’s rule 2(c) which states, "Should any conflict exist or develop between any of these Rules and the South Carolina election law, the latter shall govern except as to those laws which have been judicially held to be constitutionally unenforceable or which are patently unconstitutional." But it was not made clear what portion of the state law they were referring to in this non-Republican Party email blast from MYSCGOP.
At the SCGOP Executive Committee Meeting on February 4th, it was presented that GCRP violated three specific rules. Two of those rules were already investigated by the SCGOP Rules Committee and by the full Executive Committee.
One rule violation was regarding the election of Walter Horin as 3rd Vice Chairman. He was found not qualified for the seat he was elected for. In the last regular business meeting, which was last October, there was a motion made by a county executive committee (EC) member who was publicly scolded, harassed, and basically made fun of for even challenging Horin’s election. The rule states that a candidate for county office had to vote Republican in 2 out of 3 previous elections to qualify. The EC’s motion required evidence of Horin’s qualification, or if said evidence cannot be proven then immediately vacate the office and have elections for that office. They did not provide any evidence and expressed that said evidence could not be verified even though the chairman and other county party officers claimed they did verify the evidence.
They took the presented motion and said they will send it to a committee and will deal with it later. Since then, they had stopped all regular business meetings which means they will never deal with the motion and will not present it to the full county executive committee by the time reorg meetings take place.
What is interesting to note, is that a couple of years ago this attempt had taken place before, violating a similar rule that GCRP had. Walter Horin was running for 1st Vice Chair which he obviously did not qualify and there was an attempt to suspend the rule so they could get Horin elected as 1st Vice Chair. It failed. So, they knew Horin’s qualifications and yet allowed him to become a candidate and get elected later as a 3rd Vice Chairman.
It was also presented to SCGOP that several county ECs were improperly removed from their precinct offices due to lack of attendance, but SCGOP told GCRP to reinstate those ECs. There was one EC that Davis tried to remove for reasons not associated with GCRP. But the president of that precinct made it clear that he and his EC were in constant communication. The president made it clear that he was there by proxy per the rules on behalf of the EC who could not attend several meetings due to unforeseen events. There was also an unsuccessful attempt to remove some Precinct Presidents for lack of attendance. There were letters sent out, but they were not followed through.
GCRP Chairman Jeff Davis and County Officers were charged with refusing to follow the basic right of a County EC’s right to make a motion and that Rules of Order were not followed for motions. It has become obvious from past GCRP business meetings, whether called in as special or regular scheduled meetings, that Rules of Order were violated constantly.
At the SCGOP Columbia meeting, a mention was made regarding GCRP’s vote to overturn Joey Russo’s election for County Council, where Russo appealed to SCGOP that GCRP attempted to overturn a valid election. SCGOP overturned GCRP’s decision.
This vote by SCGOP to take control of GCRP’s precinct reorg meetings and their county convention, came a few days after GCRP had a special-called hybrid executive committee meeting that combined both online zoom and in-person attendance. At this hybrid meeting, they voted to have precinct reorg on Tuesday, March 14th, 2023 at 7 p.m. and a reorg makeup on Saturday, April 1st at 10 a.m. They also voted to have the County convention on Saturday morning, April 22nd.
They also announced that the main ballroom at the Greenville Convention Center has been secured for the county convention on April 22nd. They reported that it has a capacity of 3,000. They even recommended that the precinct leaders secure their reorg locations and have them submitted by February 10th. But this is all in question now that the State Republican Party has taken control. It is yet to see how this plays out.
In response to the vote in Columbia by the SCGOP Executive Committee, GCRP Chairman, Jeff Davis is claiming that he sent a letter back on November 23, 2022. In this letter, he is requesting confirmation that he has been following the rules, despite a previous letter sent, according to Davis, by his chairman predecessor who claimed that the current GCRP is not following the rules. Davis says in this email blast that he never received a response from SCGOP if he was breaking any rules.
Further in his non-official Republican email blast, he claims that SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick used a PowerPoint slide image as justification for taking over Greenville. Davis shows in this email what he calls a fraudulent image used by Drew to “justify” the SCGOP taking over the Greenville reorg and county convention. The image shows what appears to be Democrat Candidate for SC Governor Joe Cunningham's letterhead logo and along with a thank you note underneath it for joining his campaign which appears to be addressed to MySCGOP and others. Davis is claiming this is a fabricated endorsement by SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick. But what McKissick was showing at the meeting regarding this is that MYSCGOP was sharing their email with other groups and somehow the Democrat Candidate obtain a Republican email list.
Davis claims there is no evidence that MYSCGOP, which he is also Chairman, endorsed Democrat Joe Cunningham for Governor. Remember, Davis uses MYSCGOP a lot to do business as, and alongside GCRP. Both of their headquarters work out of the same office headquarters - another gripe that the previous County EC Stephen Brown had and eventually resigned.
Davis also goes as far as to say that his organization did not endorse the Republican incumbent, Henry McMaster either. He claims that due to MYSCGOP being a 501(c)(3) non-profit that endorsing candidates would be in violation of their IRS non-profit status.
Due to SCGOP’s Rules Committee recommendation to vote in taking authority over GCRP’s precinct reorg meetings and county convention, Davis has called the Rules Committee’s recommendation letter crazy and has now set a target on all the members of the Rules Committee. He has made it clear that he and his army is out for blood and their army will soon take SC by storm.
But while the threats are being made, MYSCGOP has already lost some control over other counties due to similar things happening in Greenville. It is yet to see how far Davis and his MYSCGOP organization will go and carry out their threats. But one thing is for certain, where they take control and think they are in the Land of Oz, in reality, they leave a tornado of a mess. And it is becoming apparent that SCGOP is doing its best trying not to let Greenville end up in the same mess.
Maybe it is now time for Greenville Republicans to tap their red slippers and say, “there's no place like home” so we can return and pick up the pieces and get back to business.