Paying careful attention to Cold Warrior, Ron Robinson, and those who constantly spurred us to get involved at the precinct level and explained why it was so important, the tea parties/liberty groups in South Carolina worked hard on this in 2011. Using our email and phone network we educated each other on why and how, shared resources on how to educate and inspire our group members, and helped problem solve when certain counties’ GOP elites moved dates and locations and withheld information (YES it happened!)
So now that those events have passed I wanted to share our victories! Sparing you the statistical details (and kinda because I don’t have everything at hand) but giving you some anecdotal encouragement, tea parties across our state methodically planned our precinct reorganizations and we have MANY new delegates (what SC calls committeemen). We got on talk radio, we blogged, we wrote letters to the editor. We spoke about it in our monthly meetings, shared our experiences, volunteered to “go with”. My county has a fantastic GOP Chairwoman and we have a very good relationship with her. She gave us any info we asked for, and with a week to go before the reorg called and gave me the list of precincts that were “unorganized” and asked if I could find people within the tea party to organize them … and we got several folks who stepped up and now head those precincts.
We had many who became officers in their precincts, we have several counties who have tea party folks as their County Chair or Vice Chairs! With our precincts organized, we turned our attention to making sure our delegates turned out for the County Conventions and passed some conservative resolutions. Note that this happened in county after county! We kept our enthusiasm through the State Convention where a State GOP Chairman was elected who had worked in the party pushing it to the right for years, standing firm against our Good ‘Ol Boy Network of RINOs and former Dems. He is involved with the tea party, has been a speaker on conservative issues such as school choice for years, and early in his campaign reached out to make sure the tea party will have a voice in SC politics.
Beyond our numerical victories it was just so darn inspiring to ask at our post-precinct reorg tea party meetings “How many of you went to your FIRST precinct reorganization and are now delegates?” and see 3/4 of the room hold up their hands. “How many of you became officers in your precincts?” about a 1/3 of the room. “How many are going to the state convention? … Will this be your FIRST state convention?” … so many people who had never thought of this level of involvement before now. And BOY are they passionate! Some knocked doors to organize their precinct, some made flyers, others are already planning their first precinct meetings to share with their new neighbors how to work in the party.
There are special challenges to living in a very red state like South Carolina, and we now have some bench strength in our precincts of committed patriots determined to work at moving our party and candidates and politicians to the right, back to Constitutional governance. Already in my county we’ve had some eager for the next level, running for school board, or a county office, perhaps even a state position.
And in two years, we’ll be even better at organizing!