By Nate Leupp
On Monday night, September 9th, the Executive Committee of the Greenville County Republican Party will meet and elect its next Chairman. There are two candidates that have announced their intentions to run, Chad Groover and Samuel Harms. My friend Dean Allen has made a case for why Harms should be elected Chairman on Monday night. I agree with much of what Dean said. Harms understands the responsibilities of Chairman from his prior term as Chairman from 07-09. He has given countless hours of work over a period of years fighting so that we are able to keep democrats from having a say in choosing who our Party’s nominees are. He is organized, honest, and extremely knowledgeable about the requirements of being Chairman.
Part of making the case why Greenville needs Groover must include talking about why now is not the time to elect Harms. There is a difference between what people call “negative campaigning” and a discussion of legitimate concerns based on past events and factual information backed up from multiple witnesses. I am going to discuss some legitimate concerns that one should consider when making their choice.
The election of the Chairman is the responsibility of the full Convention of the Greenville County Republican Party (GCRP). This decision is usually made by anywhere from 500-1500 delegates. Because of Betty Poe’s resignation, the decision is given to the 118 Executive Committeemen (EC). When the EC votes for a Chairman, they should take into consideration who the Convention would choose. What if Gov. Haley would have appointed someone to fill the Senate seat of Jim DeMint, knowing that person would not have the support of the Citizens of South Carolina? If given the choice, would the delegates to our Convention choose Groover or Harms? The full Convention was given the choice to re-elect Harms in 2009 and Harms lost. There is very little doubt that a Convention would elect Groover over Harms.
Both of our candidates are hard workers, but one candidate has already showed he is willing to work hard by campaigning hard. The other candidate has done little to no campaigning. This may be because Harms thinks he “has it in the bag,” as one of his supporters said. Another supporter claimed that Harms couldn’t spend any time campaigning because he was busy with the lawsuit. The lawsuit has been dismissed, but Harms still hasn’t done any campaigning. To say Harms is too busy to campaign may be admitting that he simply does not have the time to be Chairman. Many do not know that the week before the August 5th meeting (original election date) Groover merged his law firm and moved into new office space while making calls to almost every EC. No person is entitled to be the next Chairman; they should work hard to earn the support of the EC. Should the EC vote for a person who has done very little to campaign for their vote?
The Chairman of the largest County in the State must be a person that can work with others, both in the County and across the State. Harms has a history of dividing conservatives in Greenville County instead of uniting them. In 2009, while discussing plans for the County Convention, Harms took the opportunity to talk with those present about how to remove “Bob Jones conservatives” from the party; multiple people verified this. One person in attendance that night left, decided that was not something he could support, and ran for Chairman against Harms. Harms lost. Groover will work to bring conservatives together and unite them, not attempt to remove them from the Party. In a recent Greenville Journal story, Groover said that he wanted to include “Reagan Republicans, Rockefeller Republicans and Ron Paul Republicans.” I’m happy to say, Greenville County is comprised more of the first and the last and fewer of the middle.
Chad Groover is a solid conservative Republican with a history of service fighting for the conservative cause. He has years of political experience. He knows both the rules of our party and the rules of running a meeting. Because they cannot attack his principles, a couple supporters of Harms created and have been spreading a lies, saying, “The SCGOP asked Chad Groover to run” and “Chad Groover is a puppet of the SCGOP.” Most of us have received the emails with these claims. These claims are false. When recently asked, Chad Groover stated that except for a public Facebook post to the SCGOP Chairman (regarding a sick family member of the Chairman), he has had no contact with anyone at the SCGOP. Just as Harms was asked to run by a group of people, Groover was also asked to run by people who have built the GCRP and wish for it to remain strong and be the example to the rest of the State.
There is bad blood between Harms and the SCGOP, so naturally, one can assume the SCGOP would rather have Groover as Chairman.
GCRP needs a chairman that can work with others, both within the County and across State. Groover has not created enemies and will be able to bring a clean slate to the table when working with others in our Republican Party. Groover will work well with the officers that the Convention and EC have already elected.
Both candidates are lawyers. Both candidates are bona fide conservative Republicans. One candidate brings a clean slate and a fresh start. The other brings baggage and burnt bridges. The Greenville County Republican Party has already elected Harms as Chairman once, and then voted him out. The Executive Committee should follow the precedent of its Convention delegates and elect Chad Groover to be its next Chairman.