7th District Republicans: Grimes, Richardson & Unity

As the Seventh District is a new Congressional district (even though it largely restores the long-lasting Pee Dee district that was taken away by judicially-imposed redistricting two decades ago), it gives the opportunity to shake up the region’s politics. Like the historic Pee Dee district, the new Seventh combines the coastal GOP bastions with rural GOP pockets like Florence and Hartsville with rural Democratic-leaning regions.

In 1994, the GOP took a somewhat-similar district when Lindsey Graham flipped the Third District to GOP control. While most of the counties in the district had no Republican office-holders and the District’s legislative delegation was heavily-Democrat, by the time Graham left the seat eight years later, the district was radically transformed, with Gresham Barrett succeeding him in a walk, the GOP holding the legislative majority and Republicans holding office in every county, with council majorities or near majorities in almost every county.

Republicans could accomplish the same in the Seventh, leveraging a Congressional win to help gain ground in traditionally Democratic areas, which would have a noticeable impact upon politics both in the region and statewide. But to do so takes the right kind of leadership from the GOP’s district party.

To provide that kind of leadership, Seventh District Republicans would be wise to support Tom Grimes for Chair and Brad Richardson for Vice-Chair.

Grimes is a long-time veteran of state GOP politics and is the hardest-working District Chair we’ve ever seen, traveling the district on his own time and expense to help keep the county parties connected in his current role as Sixth District Chair. While many people who hold the office of District Chair don’t invest much time or energy in the role, Grimes has set a higher standard for the office which would play a key role in helping ensure the GOP carries the Congressional race in the fall, as well as helping leverage such a victory to help more Republicans win at the local level.

By comparison, the other candidate is a relative newcomer with a flimsy resume. Elijah Jones’s primary political experience consists of getting trounced in a 2010 bid for what should have been a competitive Florence County Council district. If he sticks around, he might show promise in the future, but when you compare the choices and ask what a District Chair should be able to accomplish, Grimes is clearly the only qualified candidate in the race.

Richardson is an up-and-comer in Pee Dee politics who has shown both tenacity and the ability to accomplish something, as well as the good sense to not try to start from the top. In his twenties, he was elected to town council in Johnsonville, a Democratic town deep in the Pee Dee and in 2010 lost a tough Mayoral bid by a hair, thus he's a proven tough campaigner who can win over long-time Democrats. As a former journalist, he understands politics is about getting a message out. While he faces Tommy Phillips, who has a much longer political resume, we believe Richardson has the right combination of experience, enthusiasm and long-term potential to play a key role in turning the Pee Dee into a more Republican-friendly region.

The Blogland would encourage Seventh District Republicans to support these two first and foremost, but they should consider all of their convention choices carefully. We recommend that they support a diverse slate of candidates which can best reflect the diversity of the Seventh District and ensure a unified front going into the fall elections, led by Grimes and Richardson.

2 Response to "7th District Republicans: Grimes, Richardson & Unity"

  1. Conservative FCGOP 12/4/12 05:14
    I agree with this.

    Kevin Thomas
    Chairman- Fairfield County GOP
  2. Anonymous 13/4/12 10:28
    Let me add my two cents on Tom Grimes. I had a chance to talk to him at our Orangeburg monthly meeting in 2009. He had been out of the hospital for just a after a heart attack and cancer and yet he had driven from Florence to Orangeburg to attend our meeting. What I found was a man interested in building and strengthening our GOP. He wasn't doing this for fame or money. What surprised me was his knowledge of issues across the district and our county. His grasp of challenges and complexities that we faced was amazing. He was thoughtful, insightful, inspirational in his ideas and his answers. At the SCGOP executive meetings, he is a regular presence that stands and fights not just for the 6th district but for all the small counties across this state. I have watched as Tom Grimes has criscrossed this district to support the local GOP and found him to be calm stablizing presence in the eye of the political storms we call elections. We in the 6th have been lucky to have had him as our chairman and the republicans in the 7th would be wise to elect him as their first chairman. Sign me a friend from Orangeburg.

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