Facing a surprisingly viable challenge from famed attorney Lin Wood, incumbent South Carolina Republican party (SCGOP) chairman Drew McKissick went on the offensive this week. In a statement provided to Newsweek, McKissick accused Wood of being a carpetbagging “Republican in name only” as well as a two-time contributor to former U.S. president Barack Obama.
He also disputed allegations from Wood that SCGOP officials were conspiring to rig the chairman’s vote – and touted the endorsement(s) he has received from former U.S. president Donald Trump as he vies for a third, two-year term as leader of the state party.
“Lin Wood is a carpetbagging RINO who’s been in South Carolina for two months,” McKissick told Darragh Roche, an Irish freelancer for Newsweek. “Any suggestion or accusation of cheating or not being a true Republican is just a strategy out of the slick trial lawyer’s handbook – a trial lawyer who donated to Obama twice and supported candidates endorsed by Planned Parenthood. Trump endorsed my reelection campaign and that speaks for itself.”
Roche has yet to publish an article including McKissick’s quote, however Wood posted it to the Telegram app. SCGOP officials confirmed to this news outlet that the quote was authentic.
In addition to posting McKissick’s broadside, Wood also posted a scathing response to it …
“I reject McKissick’s claim that I am a RINO (Republican in name only),” Wood wrote. “I fought for Trump, I love our president, and I am still fighting for Trump to have the truth of the 2020 election revealed. McKissick is not. Why did Trump endorse McKissick over me? He has his own reasons for endorsing people. Wait and see what they may be. McKissick may be misreading the endorsement.”
Wood did acknowledge that he has “voted for and donated to Democrats” in the past.
“I have made mistakes, and I have been fooled – as we all have,” he wrote. “But my support has been overwhelmingly for Republicans like Nixon, Reagan, Ford and president Trump. I donated over $750,000 in the 2020 election cycle to Trump and GOP candidates.”
Despite his espousal of what I believe to be some pretty outlandish views, Wood has struck a chord with conservative activists in the Palmetto State. Or maybe that sentence should read “thanks to his espousal of what I believe to be some pretty outlandish views.”
Who knows …
Whatever the case may be, many of these conservative Republicans were already looking for a reason to oust McKissick – who broke with longstanding GOP protocol last year and meddled in multiple Republican primary elections on behalf of fiscally liberal incumbents and challengers.
After pulling off a delegate coup last week in Greenville county – the bastion of Republican politics in the Palmetto State – Wood reportedly captured 24 of 33 delegates at the Anderson county Republican convention earlier this week and at least eight of 14 delegates at the Greenwood county Republican convention on Tuesday evening.
“McKissick is running scared,” one Upstate GOP activist told me this week.
Wood’s supporters have coalesced under the banner of MySCGOP.com – a group which is pushing for a “purge” of what it refers to as the “RINO establishment elite” in the Palmetto State. According to its website, MySCGOP.com is comprised of “like-minded patriotic and conservative groups (from) across South Carolina who want to drain the swamp in Columbia.”
Can the SCGOP establishment beat back its takeover attempt?
Earlier this week, I reported on a possible “spoiler” candidate entering the SCGOP chairman’s race – former U.S. Senate candidate Michael J. LaPierre. I am also told SCGOP establishment backers have an “ace in the hole” to use against Wood that will allegedly torpedo his candidacy.
Why pay so much attention to a partisan leadership race? Well, aside from the influence the SCGOP exerts over the quadrennial “First in the South” presidential primary election (ahem), I believe the battle currently raging for control of the state party is a key front in the larger civil war taking place within the GOP.
Not to mention a sign of things to come in the 2022 primary election cycle …
I also believe the outcome of this ongoing schism will determine whether the GOP continues to fall out of favor with the electorate, stages a comeback or … completely implodes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading.
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