We (Spartanburg Tea Party and conservatives in a couple organizations) talked about precinct reorganization in our county for months prior to the reorganization night in March. I blogged about it almost weekly, we mentioned it in our meetings, in our emails, we drew diagrams for people. There were radio ads (the party put those out). Letters to the editor. We hit it hard.
Last time my precinct reorganized 2 years ago we had 16 people, this time 29. There were similar stories in other precincts.
Now the fun begins. There was an okay leadership team in our county for the last four years, however there were times when the Republican platform wasn’t fully supported/defended. In one instance, we had six state "republican" House Representatives who voted against a strong School Choice bill, which is a plank in the GOP Platform. The bill died by one vote, and our county Chair defended (and campaigned) for several of those legislators. We had some struggles with communication (lack of), and our state delegates were selected by a nominating committee via a slate, instead of being voted on by the party members. We thought we could do better.
The Chair was not running again, but was promoting her husband to be our county Executive Committeeman to the State. Several folks who had served the party who were content with the status quo were going to take a shot at the other offices. We felt confident about the guy who was running for county chair; several of us met with him one-on-one over a few weeks time and he shared our vision for platform, improved communication, and delegates being voted on, not selected by committee.
So we stealth campaigned. Our people didn’t announce until about 10 days out, we sent out emails only, no glossy mailers, no campaign events, but we networked our precinct delegates we’d built up for the past 8 months daily. Our candidates attended several local club meetings and shared their vision. Our candidates for State Executive Committeeman, Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice chairs (we get four in our county) made calls and we made calls and then … convention day.
Our Treasurer candidate won her seat 201 to 75, that was the high point, but there was no low point.
Each of the candidates we worked with won their seat, and there are 2 other vice chairs we feel good about. We now have a county GOP made up of several tea party folks, several Republican Liberty Caucus folks, several strong platform Republicans, all of them are well versed and committed passionately to the party platform and the Constitution. Republicans first. They are going to work within the party, no mavericks, to educate, ID candidates, grow the party through neighborhood outreach etc. It is important to note that it was NOT ONLY members of various liberty organizations, but many non-aligned Republicans who just wanted better for our county who helped and voted for these officers.
My next project is to propose to our State GOP Chairman a 46 county strategy in our state, organized and training provided by those of us who killed it in our county. I see it as sort of a pilot program I’m hoping will provide the blueprint for success at growing the party across the state through precinct reorganization. If successful, I’m hoping our State Chair will share our success with Reince Priebus. Pray … do the happy rain dance … think good thoughts … that my vision is executed in some way. If South Carolina blows it out these next two years, I’m envisioning “hey … how’d you do that?" from the RNC. And then … we’re off!