SCGOP Preps for Convention
Delegates rally in Columbia with two weeks to go before national gathering.
Since Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate on Saturday, the buzz on conservative blogs and publications has highlighted the jolt of energy which has rippled throughout the Republican Party as a result of Ryan joining the ticket.
That enthusiasm was in evidence on Tuesday night at the Liberty Tap Room and Grill in Columbia where delegates to the Republican Convention in Tampa met with party leaders, including state chair Chad Connelly.
It's been a challenging year for Connelly. The state lost its streak of correctly picking the presidential nominee when Newt Gingrich easily defeated Romney in the January primary. And the last three months have seen Connelly dealing with one ballot controversy after another--often involving fellow Republicans (on Tuesday the GOP picked up a pair of victories in the courts). He even found himself being criticized by the Executive Committee of the SCGOP.
But Connelly showed no signs of strain on Tuesday as he helped begin the countdown to the GOP Convention, which is less than two weeks away. He urged his colleagues to do what they can to help the Romney campaign in North Carolina, where the state is up for grabs. But he also told them to enjoy the time in Tampa, to squeeze in a round of golf in between convention events.
Connelly told Patch that the selection of Ryan by Romney gives the GOP momentum heading into Tampa. "He was the perfect choice and by picking him Romney showed he's going to make the race about the issues and we'll win on the issues," Connelly said.
The party, as usual, has its factions heading into the convention, which begins on Aug. 27. Ron Paul has yet to be given a speaking slot during the convention and the first wave of speakers named by convention organizers show an effort to reach demographics who typically don't check the GOP box. "We'll come together and we'll be unified and ready to beat Barack Obama," Connelly said. "We realize we aren't going to make every single person happy. I can't do that at home with my four kids so I know we can't do that with a party as large as ours."