Time for GOP to move forward

In April the Pickens County GOP held its convention where officers were elected to two-year terms by the seated delegates at the convention. State Rep. Neal Collins protested the results to the State Party because he brought 48 people with him that night, tried to seat them as delegates, but they were not seated.

Collins’ hope was, by adding these additional delegates that night, he would then have enough votes to be elected County Chairman of the party, along with State Rep. Gary Clary as 1st vice chairman and State Rep. Davey Hiott as 2nd vice chairman.

The rules in the State GOP handbook states the process of verifying the eligibility of delegates must be completed, by county GOP officials, no less than 5 days before the convention. County party officials were completely unaware of these additional people until they arrived at the convention with Collins. Collins took to the floor of the convention, making arguments and motions to have his 48 people seated as voting delegates.

Local party officials and 155 properly seated delegates listened to his arguments, and twice voted down adding Collins’ last-minute delegates. Collins then filed a protest with the State GOP, asking the state to overturn the convention, and schedule a second convention, with his 48 delegates seated.

On Aug. 22 the State GOP heard the protest in Columbia. State GOP party Chairman Matt Moore acted as judge and 36 members of the State GOP Executive Committee acted as the jury.

Collins and Clary where the plaintiffs and argued their case. The Pickens County GOP was the defendant, represented by Chairman Phillip Bowers, Pickens County State Executive Committee Representative Sylvia Bass, and me, Rick Tate, first vice chairman.

You’d never know it by reading some of the local newspapers, but the State Party Executive Committee voted 34-2 to deny the protest, and the results of the 2015 Pickens County Republican Party Convention were upheld. Chairman Bowers was vindicated in the decisions he made on the night of the convention.

It is my hope we can now put this behind us and work toward implementing our party platform.

Rick Tate

First vice chairman

Pickens County Republican Party

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