PICKENS COUNTY — The Pickens County Republican Party convention of 2015 will stand, according to a hearing held by the state party Aug. 22 in Columbia.
The contested convention, held to elect members to become delegates to the state convention and also elect a chairman for the upcoming year, was protested by Rep. Neal Collins of the Pickens County legislative delegation and others when some potential members or delegates were denied entry.
The protest was taken up by the state party and the hearing held to determine if the convention would be nullified or upheld and what, if any, actions would be taken by the state GOP administration.
While the vote, cast by representatives of each county in the state, affirmed the protested convention, the caveat of the hearing was the 2016 convention would be overseen by the state party itself.
Collins saw this as a compromise vote.
“The state GOP committeemen split the baby by not overturning the Pickens County convention, but will oversee the next county convention,” Collins said. “The only disappointing thing for me is that 48 people properly registered with the state party attended the night of the convention and were denied access at the door, but ultimately those 48 were not supported by the Party.”
Although the 2016 convention will be overseen by the state GOP, current GOP county chairman Phillip Bowers is hoping this will serve to make the process better for all involved.
“The officers of the Pickens County Republican Party are extremely pleased we were vindicated by the overwhelming support of the State GOP Executive Committee Saturday. We followed the rules and the decision of the State Party reflects that,” Bowers said.
“We also welcome the help of the State Party to clean up the rules so everyone is clear on their meaning, and working with us during our next reorganization so that no one creates a situation like this again,” he dded. “We look forward to moving past this unfortunate chapter and working with the Legislative Delegation as effectively as possible.”
Although there has been an indication by some the vote was 34-2 in favor of the decision, the meeting was held behind closed doors and the vote could not be confirmed with state party chairman Matt Moore. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.