By John e Bonsignor
The 7th Congressional District GOP Convention held in Florence on Saturday April 9, 2016, to select a new 7th C D Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary as well as Republican National delegates (6) to the National Convention in Cleveland on July 18-21 2016 at the “Q” Arena, was hectic.
There is no question Horry County who had 39 voting delegates with 3 alternates (42 total) who attended, came home with only 2 elected National delegates–Alan Clemmons delegate and Gerri McDaniel alternate.
Meanwhile Florence County, who only assembled 23 attending delegates, received the lion share of National delegates and an alternate. There’s no question that the members of the delegation from Florence out maneuvered Horry County as they pooled their votes, having only 6 people running and had 3 delegates making it to the top.
Horry County had 19 delegates running, which cut into its vote count. Consequently no one received more than 20 votes. Hard ball won the day. The other National delegate went to Jerry Rovner of Georgetown who is the present chairman of the 7th CD. With regards to Clemmons and McDaniel they had the good fortune of getting some votes from other delegates.
Some of Horry’s convention attendees are blaming Chairman Robert Rabon for the blow out. To be fair it is NOT Rabon’s fault, and anyone suggesting or saying it is just doesn’t know the facts. Prior to the meeting Chairman Rabon urged the Party members who were going to go to Florence, to only select 6 delegates and as such with 39 voters; the 6 that were chosen would have won handily.
Rabon tried to caution the delegation about this, but it landed on deaf ears. Hopefully, Horry County will learn from this experience and be better organized in the future; no one enjoys losing especially when they are holding all the aces.
At the opening of the meeting at 10:15 AM the chairman of the 7th C D Jerry Rovner gave a extra-ordinary powerful message, one of which was right on point, the essence of which was:
“We will win in November but we must get our house in order, and be unified to win, the prospects of a Hillary Clinton Victory in November should horrify all of us”.
Before, the voting for the office holders; the S C National Delegate Cindy Costas, was introduced and spoke on the State Convention in Columbia, and what is at stake at the National Convention.
Congressman Tom Rice spoke and as usual he gave a very humble and down to earth talk on his appreciation for the excellent support he has received throughout his tenure in the Congress. Tom’s speeches, or as I call them talks to the people, are always so sincere and gracious. Jerry mentioned Congressman Rice has been appointed to one of the most powerful committees in Congress that of the Ways and Means.
Clemmons was voted to be the Temporary Chairman of the Convention with the first order of business to vote for the Chairman of the 7th C D. A motion was made by Congressman Rice to continue with the present Chairman Jerry Rovner (from Georgetown). The motion was second by me and carried. Tommy Grimms (from Florence) was voted as Vice Chairman. I had nominated Randal Wallace, and believed I had the votes to carry him to victory, but Randal declined to run.. (to me.. Randal doesn’t play hard ball, he doesn’t like to rock the boat). Mallory Morris was elected Secretary.
The beginning of the voting got off a bit rocky with many objections, outbursts and turmoil. Clemmons as Chair is accustomed with such behavior, handling rough outbursts and quibbling. After a few boisterous moments everything settled down and from then on all was peaceful.
The one objection I have is any one running for National delegate should declare who they are for should there be more than one ballot at the convention. After all, the primary voters (of SC) selected overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.