Being a Democratic Delegate in South Carolina is generally pretty boring. For the most part the powers that be decide among themselves who should fill what role and by the time a delegate votes it’s pretty much just ceremonial. From time-to-time our votes matter though. In 2008 there was a three way race for 3rd Vice Chair of the Greenville County Democratic Party. If memory serves me correctly the decision wasn’t made until the second or third vote by delegates. I proudly supported John Tynan, even though at the time I had no clue who he was. It’s a decision I’m glad the county level delegates made, as John served the party well and in ’09 became the first Democrat to win a seat on the Water Commission in years!
This year looks like another one of those years where our voices will count. Back in Feburary I started asking people who they planned to support of Chair. Carol Fowler made the decision last year not to run again and it’s an open seat. At the time most everyone said Phil Noble, and it seemed pretty cut and dry. That’s before Dick Harpoolitian jumped into the race last month! Since then the infighting among State Democrats has grown. If you know anything about Democrats then you know that’s what we do best, shoot ourselves in the foot.
The difference is both of these candidates have the ability to take our party in a different direction. Both candidates have statewide leadership experience within the party , and both candidates are well liked by most. That made this decision a little more difficult.
Phil Noble has lead SC New Democrats for years and has done a good job getting moderates to join the party. In 1985 he founded the Palmetto Project and in 2008 he founded One Laptop Per Child SC.
Dick Harpooltian is a different person all together. The Washington Post ran a story two weeks ago titled “Dick Harpootlian: Return of the king?“. Harpo as many refer to him, has quiet a history. He is very combative, says what he is thinking and has a proven track record. Under Harpoolitian’s leadership Jim Hodges was elected Governor, and the Democratic Party was a more powerful force in SC politics. In the past he has made several anti-gay slurs, many about Lindsey Graham and I just recently heard him made a comment about a Republican that could have been taken as a gay-slur.
Both candidates came to Greenville last week to speak and every day this week I have received a phone call from someone supporting Harpoolitian… Vincent Sheheen, Bakari Sellers, James Clyburn, Jim Hodges, Harry Ott, James Smith, Joe Erwin and Cherie Mabrey are all supporting him.
I’m not one to jump on a band wagon. In fact, the case could be made that I tend to go the other way… or at least question the band wagon more than most. The robo calls just annoy me.. and some of his past comments bother me….
However…. I think its time we had someone who isn’t afraid to jump into the fray… someone who can get Democrats the attention Republicans get in this state. Harpoolitian appears on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and other national outlets commonly. He’s a bulldog… and the SC Democratic Party needs that. He also isn’t an ideologue. This week Phil Noble tired to attack Harpootlian for contribution to Republicans in the past. I actually like that. I regularly vote for Republicans as well as support them.
Harpootlian might not be perfect, but neither am I and nor are you. Harpootlian is the best chance Democrats have to win….anything. So on April 30th, I’ll cast my vote for Harpootlian… if you’re a delegate I would encourage you to do the same!