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PoliticsSC Politics

Leader Of South Carolina Social Conservative Group Steps Down

What is going on at Palmetto Family Council?

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The leader of South Carolina’s most prominent social conservative advocacy group resigned unexpectedly last week – less than two weeks before his group was scheduled to host a major national event ahead of the Palmetto State’s pivotal ‘First in the South’ 2024 presidential primary.

Veteran Palmetto political operative Dave Wilson stepped down from his post with Palmetto Family last Thursday (March 9, 2023), according to a brief statement issued Friday afternoon by the organization’s board chairman Tony Beam.

“Our council work is important to families across South Carolina as we continue to work to make South Carolina a place where God is honored, religious freedom is preserved, families thrive, and life is cherished,” Beam said in the short statement, which essentially regurgitated the organization’s online talking points.

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Beam’s statement did not specify why Wilson chose to resign – nor did it make any reference to his prior service or offer him well wishes in any future endeavors. It merely noted the group’s vice president, Mitch Prosser, would serve in an interim capacity and that Palmetto Family would “promptly begin the process of searching for a new president/ executive director.”

Multiple board members reached for comment by this news outlet declined to discuss the situation.

Wilson told this news outlet over the weekend that he stepped down to pursue a “business opportunity.” He said he planned to address the circumstances surrounding his departure in more detail at a later date.

On Monday, he released the following statement to this news outlet:

“I’m very proud of the work that we’ve done to rebuild the credibility and impact of Palmetto Family both at the State House and across every county of South Carolina over these last two years. I’m returning to the business world to pursue some exciting new opportunities, and I leave knowing that the Palmetto Family team will continue to do be a consistent, strong conservative voice in our state.”

Prior to taking the reins of Palmetto Family in January 2021, Wilson spent more than a decade-and-a-half as a strategist in the shop of Columbia, S.C. political communications executive Bob McAlister. In fact, he remained in his role with McAlister after he became executive director of the organization.

Wilson replaced former state representative Joshua Putnam, who led the organization for two years prior to stepping down in August 2020 to pursue a career with Chick-fil-A. Prior to Putnam, Palmetto Family was led for years by its longtime leader, Oran Smith.

Palmetto Family's stated objective is to "persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication, and networking." The group has played a key role in the ongoing debate at the S.C. State House over abortion.

Wilson's resignation was announced just nine days before Palmetto Family was scheduled to host its biggest event in several years - the Vision '24 forum in Charleston, S.C. Announced 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley is scheduled to attend that gathering, as is U.S. senator Tim Scott - who is mulling his own 2024 bid.

Other confirmed attendees include 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, U.S. senator John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...

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Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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4 comments

jbl1a March 13, 2023 at 9:23 am

When your event speakers include Lindsey Graham and Tulsi Gabbard and you’re calling them “conservatives” you have a problem….

Reply
Bob March 13, 2023 at 1:17 pm

Maybe this creep is just copying the leader of the biggest “conservative” conference, CPAC?

Grabbing another man’s junk is just normal “conservative” values these days.

Like attacking drag queens, while there are actual pictures of the attacker in drag around for all to see…or actual drag-queens in your party holding office.

“Conservatives” are soooo confused and deeply dumb.

Bless y’all’s hearts.

Reply
Observer March 13, 2023 at 9:43 am

Jbl1a, TRUTH!

Reply
Teresa Whetzel Top fan March 13, 2023 at 12:47 pm

Yeah, maybe the upcoming guest speakers were just too scary.

Reply

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