A battle between warring factions within the Lexington County Republican Party (LCRP) – one of the more conservative party organizations in early-voting South Carolina – is coming to a head.
According to a media advisory submitted to our outlet late Wednesday, numerous county party members – including the organization’s first and third vice chairmen – are planning to censure recently elected chairwoman Pamela Godwin. They also intend to seek Godwin’s resignation, effective immediately.
Godwin was elected chairwoman of the party on April 22, 2023 – defeating former state representative Todd Atwater. A devotee of former U.S. president Donald Trump, she has been supported by the mySCGOP.com movement – the same group which backed the unsuccessful candidacy of former Trump attorney Lin Wood for chairman of the SCGOP in 2021.
MySCGOP.com has been vilified by many within the party, however it has emerged as a force within Palmetto politics – nearly toppling third-term incumbent chairman Drew McKissick on May 22, 2023 at the state party convention.
Godwin has reportedly been trying to cancel a regularly scheduled meeting of the party set for next Monday – August 7, 2023. In place of the meeting? A “movie night” at a theater located in northwest Columbia, S.C.
“Godwin likely fears the outcome of the executive committee meeting, where a motion is planned to censure her and ask for her resignation,” the media advisory from first vice chairman Mark Weber and third vice chairman John Allen stated.
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According to Weber and Allen, Godwin’s “movie night” invitation is part of a “last ditch effort to stop the meeting.”
“She has failed to follow the party rules and manages her position by executive fiat, making unilateral decisions without the advice and consent of the steering committee, as required,” Weber stated. “In addition to numerous personal attacks made against several longtime party volunteers, the chairman summarily ejected myself and another elected officer, third vice chairman John Allen, from a standing meeting we both have attended numerous times and accused us both of threatening her.”
According to both Weber and Allen, Godwin “fails to exercise the duties of the office, verbally attacks volunteers, berating anyone not in total agreement with her (and) has put the operational integrity of the organization at risk by not managing the finances.”
Hines responded to the censure last month in this column on our media outlet.
Reached for comment on Thursday morning, Godwin told me it was “hard to respond to the sheer number of inaccuracies” contained in an initial news report on the saga published by WACH TV-57 (FOX – Columbia, S.C.).
According to Godwin, the WACH article was “irresponsible and borderline slanderous.”
“I am formally requesting a retraction of this story as every portion of it simply is not true,” she said.
Godwin claimed she announced a “special called meeting (of the party) on Wednesday night” which, according to her, was “never at any point cancelled.”
“That meeting will take place as scheduled,” she said, adding that as chairwoman of the party she is entitled to “make executive decisions and so when appropriate, I make decisions as afforded to me.”
Not everyone is convinced Godwin is thusly empowered, however.
“Her executive actions are eerily reminiscent of Joe Biden’s executive orders,” one local GOP elected official told me.
What is really driving this Republican-on-Republican discord?
According to Godwin, it’s all about access to a separate “activist meeting” she and other party leaders host.
“There is a private monthly meeting outside of the party where activists get together,” she said. “Everybody knows that this meeting requires both an invite and an RSVP due to the limited space available. The two individuals mentioned in this article have infrequently attended those meetings. They did not give notice of their attendance, they were there to cause a scene and once again, this is not a county party event.”
Count on this news outlet to keep our readers up to speed on the outcome of this latest intra-party GOP spat … which could change the leadership in this critical county with less than a year to go before the pivotal “First in the South” Republican presidential primary.
Located in the Midlands to the west of the state capital of Columbia, Lexington County is one of the largest, most populous counties in the Palmetto State. It is also one of the state’s most devoutly Republican counties, with Trump defeating U.S. president Joe Biden by a 30 percentage point margin in the 2020 election.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
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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