Posts Tagged ‘The race for RNC chairman


State Rep. from Auburn endorses Dawson
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

In what should be an endorsement to give back, SCGOP chairman Katon Dawson got the approval of Ala. GOP chairman (and State Rep.) Mike Hubbard.

Let’s just say that the decision-making abilities of people from that area of the state may not be the best in the world. Cows and trailer parks, yes. Innovative ideas? Not so much.

That endorsement pales in comparison to former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s haul today, which includes the Club for Growth’s Pat Toomey, Eagle Forum crone Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Steve Forbes, &c. Damn, son. That list is base-alicious.

Alabama’s Hubbard endorses SC’s Dawson for RNC [WHNT]
Top conservatives back Blackwell [Politico]


Dawson: Wikipedia’d


Katon Dawson [Wikipedia]


Was Katon in on the hit? (And other thoughts)
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

While the national media is content to stay on the story that SCGOP chairman Katon Dawson was a member of all-white Forest Lake Country Club for 12 years (which made the “Rachel Maddow Show“ tonight) before he was forced to resign because of media inquiries (and was an officer of an elite cotillion that had events at the club), there is still way more than meets the eye, when you start looking.

Since The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reported Dawson was looking at the RNC chairmanship as early as October 2007, it is no surprise that the party started shelling out the big bucks for plane tickets (On Expedia! On Orbitz! On US Air! Fly away, fly away, fly away to the District!) and hotel rooms in DC that had no direct connection to official party business over the past year.

There is also the issue with the party’s credit cards. Boy, that sure is a nice way to hide expenditures. With certain members of the party in the General Assembly working hard for transparency in state government, why isn’t KD just paying out the money straight, so we all know, and especially party contributors know, where the money is going?

Then there’s the issue with the S.C. Club for Growth plan to take on Republican legislators in the primaries. No national journalist has looked seriously at how divided the SCGOP has been during Dawson’s tenure. Republicans win handily in this state because South Carolina is heavily conservative.

Consider the fact that, according to the “hit list“ proposal, Starboard Communications was supposed to be the consulting firm at the center of operations. Dawson and firm founder Walter Whetsell are considered to be as thick as thieves.

Le Frye (formerly of SCRG) and B.J. Boling (formerly of RQ&A and the McCain campaign) were supposed to be in the middle of things, and moved over to Starboard. The widely-circulated proposal lists the people in the operation.


Josh Gross, former SCCfG executive director, moved over as well, and did mail out of Starboard for the Sandlapper Group’s clients. Don’t forget, Sandlapper, which was founded in November of 2007, is led by Chad Connelly, an SCRG board member, and Taft Matney, spokesman for Conservatives in Action.

Then came Dawson’s puff piece interview with Howard Rich at Dawson’s house (produced by SCRG). Rich heavily funded several of Starboard’s clients and all of Sandlapper’s during the primaries.

How much money has the state party sent Starboard’s way? More than a few bucks, for sure (on both Federal and state accounts):

10/22/08: $67.04 (?)
10/20/08: $53,800.48
10/16/08: $6,851.01
9/26/08: $6,768
8/12/08: $3,186.84
6/26/08: $7,130.96
5/13/08: $19,598.06
3/3/08: $2,500
2/15/08: $2,751
2/1/08: $6,396.21
2/1/08: $8,741.64
1/15/08: $5,165.58
1/15/08: $1,923.76
1/14/08: $467.27
10/11/07: $6,926.23
8/6/07: $2,450
TOTAL: $134,724.08

Wow. That is a nice haul from one client over an election cycle. If the RNC members want someone who will preside over a united party and not pick one side over another, maybe ol’ Katon isn’t the guy.


Dolla bill, y’all
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Apparently, Will Folks was passed along some intel about SCGOP chairman Katon Dawson’s fiscal administration of the state party’s money, as Dawson continues his run for RNC chairman. That’s no surprise. Even Vierdsen has been apprised of some things, like a story about how the state party allegedly purchased an SUV on the donors’ dime.

Is it true? Don’t know. According to the party’s disclosure reports, there is no expenditure large enough for a car. However, there are numerous payments for credit card charges, so it could be entirely possible that the SUV payments are on one of the party’s cards. Also, there are plenty of expenditures for car service and repair.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things came up when Hogan Gidley was the party’s executive director. On a regular basis, the party was paying for his coffees at Starbucks. No shit. Really — could Gidley not pay for his own lattes?


Oh, no

Katon is not doing so well at



Fun with Twitter and the RNC chairman’s race




Good times.


Religious right still in control
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Earlier last week, word went around that Don Wildmon of the American Family Association is backing SCGOP Chairman Katon Dawson for the top spot at the RNC. According to a blog for liberal magazine The American Prospect, Wildmon used as one of his reasons an interview that former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele’s interview on “Meet The Press” about Steele’s abortion views.

Now Steele has defended himself against the charges, taking to the reporters and editors of the Washington Times to explain his position: he’s against Roe, he’s for amending the constitution to criminalize abortion, and he’s in favor of the legality of abortion being decided by the states.

So, there’s that. Erick Erickson of sees Dawson with the advantage, though he’s holding off on making a solid prediction.

Right now, the odds on favorite would be someone like Katon Dawson of South Carolina. Both he and Saul Anuzis, from Michigan, know the party, are workers within the party, and can be effective. Between the two, I hear committee members slightly favor Dawson to Anuzis because, I’m told, Dawson has been able to keep the big egos in his state from hurting party efforts [ed. note: Ha!]. With everyone wanting to be the face of the Republican Party, there is no division among the RNC committee members on this point: someone is going to have to put their ego aside and bring all the party’s factions together to fight.

Oh, lordy, it’s the Mark Sanford syndrome all over again. It seems like if you can go to DC enough and network enough and spread some tasty propaganda, people won’t vet your ass. The state Republican Party has been rife with back-biting, back-stabbing and everything else short of shooting people in the back for the past several years. Want a good analogy? Dawson is like President James Buchanan. The guy who came before Abe Lincoln didn’t exercise his leadership like he should have and let our country barrel headlong into the Civil War.
Vierdsen could be wrong here, but while Dawson could be picking up points with social conservatives and the base of the party, it might not be the best thing for the RNC. The general consensus among conservatives is that the national party needs to head right. But, it will take a definition of what “conservatism” is these days.

It’ll take a smart guy (and smart staffers) who knows what it’s like to come from behind to win. It just doesn’t seem like someone who presided over a factionalized party in a solid state will be able to get the job done. The social conservatives that seem to have the power to swing the RNC chairmanship should keep that in mind — becoming allied with a guy that could dig the party a deeper hole will only marginalize your interests.

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