This post was originally published on this site

A slate of candidates vowing to provide “fresh leadership” has won control of the Greenville County Republican Party by defeating a rival group that sought to more closely align itself with former President Donald Trump.

© Contributed Greenville County Republican Party logo

Delegates for South Carolina’s largest county GOP on Tuesday elected Jennifer Black as chairman, Stacy Shea as vice-chairman and Randy Page as a member of the state Republican Party executive committee. They will serve two-year terms.

Black and Shea are conservative activists, and Page, the chief of staff at Bob Jones University, attended the 2012 and 2016 Republican National Conventions as a delegate. Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis and former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint endorsed them.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

More than 1,270 GOP delegates voted as part of the county party’s virtual convention Tuesday night. Ballots were cast via email, and the process was overseen by a Texas-based company called Election Runner. 

Results of the voting were delayed until after 11:30 p.m. because of “the large number of delegates and email issues with ballots,” according to an email sent to delegates.

Outgoing county party chairman Nate Leupp said the decision to hold a virtual convention was made because it was not possible to find a venue large enough to host GOP delegates while following COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines.

The state Republican Party gave county groups the option of holding virtual conventions this year because of the pandemic. Greenville and Spartanburg are the only counties that planned to hold virtual conventions, according to state party spokesperson Claire Robinson.

The so-called “fresh leadership” slate defeated a group that included chairman candidate Jeff Davis, vice-chairman candidate Walter Horin and executive committee candidate Pressley Stutts. Davis, Horin and Stutts referred to themselves as the MAGA slate. MAGA is the acronym for Trump’s Make American Great Again campaign slogan.

© Contributed Jeff Davis, center, Walt Horin, left, and Pressley Stutts are seeking leadership posts in the Greenville County Republican Party.

According to a post on the Greenville County Republican Party’s Facebook page, Black received 680 votes while Davis collected 594 in the race for chairman. Shea received 659 votes and Horin got 614 votes in the vice-chairman’s contest. Page collected 686 votes and Stutts received 596 votes in the executive committee election.

Reached late Tuesday, Stutts disputed the results.

“Don’t believe it,” he said. “I am not buying it.”

Besides presiding over monthly meetings, the county party chairman helps vet Republican candidates for elective office and serves as the county party’s chief spokesperson.

The vice-chairman fills in when the chairman is absent.

The representative on the state executive committee votes on issues of statewide importance such as last year’s decision to cancel South Carolina’s GOP primary.

Allegations, shouting match and picketing led up to convention

The week leading to Tuesday’s convention was marked by allegations of cheating in the selection of delegates and a shouting match between two women at the county party headquarters that resulted in a call to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.

Supporters of the MAGA slate also picketed Friday outside the party headquarters on Wade Hampton Boulevard and at nearby Majesty Music, where Leupp is employed.

More than twice as many delegates cast votes Tuesday than during the county party’s 2019 convention.

The increase in delegates came after Davis and Stutts encouraged large crowds to take part in the party’s recently completed precinct reorganization. 

The biennial process, which involved gatherings on March 22 and April 6, results in the election of GOP leaders for 151 precincts and the selection of delegates for the county convention.

Highlights of Greenville County GOP convention speeches

The virtual convention featured a series of prerecorded speeches.

In her remarks to delegates, Black said in the past year “we watched how big corporations played along with the Democrat narrative, crippling everything that made America great.

“While we were minding our families and our businesses, the left was taking over our country. And the elephant in the room here is that we can no longer operate under apathy.”

Davis said he would “serve as a check against elected officials who go astray from our Republican Party platform and not just simply provide those Republicans with cover.”

“I am asking for your help in our journey to make the Greenville GOP great again,” Davis said.

Page said he agrees with Republicans who are calling for change.

“The swamp needs to be drained,” he said. “But the swamp in South Carolina is not in Greenville County. The swamp is in Florence and Horry County.”

Stutts said a “battle for the soul of the nation” is underway and “there is no room for limp-wristed, weak-kneed politicians or party leaders.”

He also said that President Joe Biden “is literally torching this nation, burning it to the ground.”

Shea criticized government officials for their response to the pandemic.

“Last year brought government overreach, the likes of what we haven’t seen in America,” she said. “Protracted shutdowns, school closures and more have made Americans acutely aware of the risks of not being involved in their own self-governance.”

Horin said the decision to hold a virtual convention showed that the county party’s current leadership is “tone deaf, out-of-touch and utterly corrupt.”

In his speech nominating Shea, Republican state Rep. Bobby Cox of Greer called for unity after the bitter power struggle for the county GOP leadership posts.

“We need to stop attacking fellow Republicans,” Cox said.

Kirk Brown covers government, growth and politics for The Greenville News. Reach him at kebrown@greenvillenews.com or on Twitter @KirkBrown_AIM. Please subscribe to The Greenville News by visiting greenvillenews.com/subscribe.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: ‘Fresh leadership’ candidates win top posts of Greenville GOP over pro-Trump candidates

Continue Reading