Former U.S. president Donald Trump made it clear on Tuesday that he still supported Drew McKissick – the incumbent chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP) – even though one of his former attorneys is now challenging McKissick for the leadership of the party.
Over the weekend, this news outlet reported exclusively that Atlanta, Georgia-based attorney Lin Wood – one of former U.S. president Donald Trump’s 2020 election fraud lawyers – had moved to South Carolina and started politicking.
Late Sunday evening, Wood announced his intention to run for chairman of the SCGOP.
How would Trump – who previously endorsed McKissick – respond to this news?
“Drew McKissick has done an outstanding job as South Carolina GOP chairman, electing more Republicans in 2020 than in over 140 years,” Trump said in a statement issued from his Save America PAC. “Drew fought all the way to the supreme court to defend our voting laws – and WON. He will continue to grow the party and help conservatives get elected in the great state of South Carolina. Drew has my complete and total endorsement for reelection!”
“So much for the Lin Wood chairmanship,” our intrepid D.C. Operative opined in response to Trump’s doubling down of support for McKissick.
Trump’s decision to stick with McKissick is not at all surprising in light of the extent to which the SCGOP has done Trump’s bidding in recent years.
For example, in the months leading up to the 2020 “First in the South” Republican presidential primary the party made it clear it would protect Trump by cancelling the primary if instructed to do so.
That’s exactly what happened … even though the decision violated state law. And even though it wound up being a strategic miscalculation that denied Trump a potentially compelling political narrative.
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“Congressman Rice’s (impeachment) vote unfortunately played right into the Democrats’ game, and the people in his district, and ultimately our state executive committee, wanted him to know they wholeheartedly disagree with his decision,” McKissick said at the time.
While Trump’s support for McKissick in his race against Wood is obviously significant, there are other factors at play in the battle for the state chairmanship.
As our founding editor Will Folks noted in assessing Wood’s political emergence in the Palmetto State, the SCGOP establishment was under siege from a group of grassroots activists operating under the banner MySCGOP.com.
According to its website, this group is “a collaborative project of like minded patriotic and conservative groups across South Carolina who want to drain the swamp in Columbia.”
“This group has been mobilizing grassroots conservatives around a ‘MAGA/ America First’ platform – and encouraging them to attend GOP precinct organization meetings across the state,” Folks noted. “According to our sources at the local party level, people have been turning out in droves to back the ‘MAGA slate’ – which now includes Wood at the top of the ticket.”
Also, while McKissick has been unswervingly loyal to Trump – as far as we know – many conservative grassroots activists remain livid with the party for its decision to begin meddling in partisan primaries.
As we noted in a post earlier today, the party violated its longstanding commitment to neutrality last spring when it actively engaged in a trio of Republican primary races for the S.C. House of Representatives. Two of the candidates it endorsed were fiscally liberal incumbents, while one of the candidates it opposed was a fiscally conservative incumbent.
In other words, the SCGOP was in the tank for the fiscally liberal establishment wing of the party in all three races …
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