Grass roots politics with team players won the day at South Florence High School Saturday (April 11, 2009) for the Florence County Republican Party Convention.

The Pee Dee Republicans’ slate of officers won every race, with only one contested and thus requiring a secret-ballot vote. Ken Ard won the chairmanship, 105 votes to 5.

elephantandcarsignFor those not 100% certain who the Pee Dee Republican candidates were, there was an enthusiastic cheer-leader…

followtheelephantsignEllie Elephant jumped up and down at his seat and pointed to the candidate when their name was announced!

betteandsheriffkenneybooneDespite the fact it was the day before Easter and also in the middle of Spring Break, 116 registered delegates attended, plus a dozen or so political candidates, elected officials and other guests.

Keynote speaker was Congressman Gresham Barrett, the only officially announced candidate for SC Governor in 2010. Also giving “brief” remarks were two unannounced candidates for Governor, Attorney General Henry McMaster and Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, plus several candidates for other state-wide office in 2010.

Dr. Neal Thigpen, recently retired Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University, was our well-prepared and efficient convention president. Although he had claimed ahead of time that he wasn’t an expert on parliamentary procedure, you could have fooled me!

He moved things right along and got us out of there before 12 Noon, in plenty of time for the barbecue lunch provided by the newly chartered Pee Dee Young Republicans.

Neal’s introductory remarks of the various candidates were so good! He mentioned the fact that he or she had been one of his students at FMU… and he claimed that had Stephanie gone to college locally, she no doubt would have been, too.

These fond comments were certainly not lost on the crowd, who would soon be voting on these candidates!

The beautiful spring weather, the great crowd, the coffe and donut “Meet-and-Greet” breakfast with Gresham Barrett, all contributed to a good start of a good day.

This despite the fact that once again, the building was not open as promised at 7:30 for set-up. Many phone calls had to be made to get somebody there with a key — then the main auditorium lights would not come on, only the stage lights, and an electrician had to be called.

I have agreed to serve as Florence County GOP secretary again, as I did for some years in the past. I look forward to working with this great group of enthusiastic Republicans, many younger GOP’ers — and quite a few of us re-fired older ones, who made up a substantial number of the delegates Saturday.