A deeply-divided S.C. Republican Party is going to have its hands full over the next few years. Not only do they have Democratic bomb-thrower Dick Harpootlian to contend with, but the rift between fiscal conservatives and status quo fiscal liberals is wider than ever.
Democrats moved swiftly to exploit that rift this week … attacking SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly for his decision to name fiscal conservative activist Matt Moore as the party’s next executive director.
Phil Bailey, the director of the S.C. Senate Democratic Caucus, began littering his Twitter page with references to poor grades that “Republican” lawmakers received on S.C. Club for Growth scorecards – which were released during Moore’s tenure with the advocacy group.
“The best part about new SCGOP (executive director) Matt Moore’s Club For Growth Score Cards – They’ll be used against incumbent GOPers in GOP primaries,” Bailey Tweeted.
He’s right … the vast majority of South Carolina’s “Republican” lawmakers have atrocious fiscal records, and they will have to answer for those records in 2012.
At this point, Moore has only been named “transition director” of the party – although sources tell FITS that his hiring as executive director is a “done deal.” We think that’s a positive development. Moore has always been a straight-shooter – and a talented operative.
Whether you like his politics or not, he’s an honest broker – which is extremely rare in this state.
The same can obviously be said of the man he’s replacing, former Mark Sanford press secretary Joel Sawyer.
After distinguishing himself during the Sanford sex scandal – and extricating himself from that mess with aplomb – Sawyer has performed admirably in what was supposed to be a temporary role as SCGOP executive director.
His job was to elect Republicans – and despite what we may think of many “Republicans” in this state, it’s hard to argue with the results.
Despite having been involved in state political circles for almost a decade now, Sawyer has managed to avoid much of the “baggage” that plagues a lot of other political operatives. Most anyone you ask will tell you he’s a likeable, trustworthy, and hardworking guy.
Not surprisingly, Sawyer is high on the list of available 2012 operatives – several of whom were reportedly courting him prior to the recent chairman’s election.
Assuming he doesn’t stick around as an advisor to the party, we’d put him very high on the list of available 2012 talent.