November 24th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
10 years ago

South Carolinian joins race for Republican Party chair

WASHINGTON (CNN) – South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson told supporters Monday he will seek the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, pledging to help rebuild the party after devastating losses on Election Day.

CNN’s Short List: The next RNC chair

Three weeks ago, Democrats gained control of the White House after eight years of Republican rule, and won at least 20 additional House seats and at least seven Senate seats to add to their majorities in both chambers. Democrats are now two seats shy of securing a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate. That result which will be determined when the winners of the Georgia and Minnesota Senate races are called next month.

“I am running to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee because I’m ready to help lead our party’s turnaround,” Dawson said in a prepared statement. “We need to turn around our fortunes in many regions of the country. We need to turn around our grassroots organization, our fundraising, our use of technology and new media, and our candidate recruitment. We must move forward with the confidence that our message of optimism, hope, and freedom still resonates in the hearts of our fellow Americans.”

Dawson told CNN Sunday afternoon he would formally declare his candidacy on Monday.

In his Monday statement, he touted his “aggressive” approach to fundraising, and Republican success in maintaining control of political offices in his state. He also noted that Republicans “made outreach to non-traditional Republican voters a priority” specifically the state GOP’s selection of an African-American to serve as an RNC member and the election of a black Republican to the General Assembly. Diversifying the Republican Party is a hot topic of discussion - one of Dawson’s rivals for the nomination is former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who is African-American.

Filed under: RNC
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. S

    Katon Dawson and other elected officials in SC need to figure out how they are going to get jobs for the thousands of SC residents who are unemployed. I know this is an issue for all states, but as a resident of SC I see how the good ole boys system works here, and I am tired of it. Stop worrying about your political career, and look out for those who elected you!

    November 24, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. katiec

    Until the republicans admit and acknowledge they have almost destroyed our country these last eight years there will be no
    change. They poster, pander, point fingers and continue
    to totally ignore the needs of our country.
    Saw yesterday where they have a fund raiser to help defeat
    the "lefts agenda". When are these politicians going to realize
    this nonsense has to stop. It is our survival.

    November 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Salt

    I say they give it to Steele. I'm not a Republican, but I am from Maryland and Steele did a good job as our Lt. Gov.

    There is no such thing as a moderate Repub from South Carolina.

    November 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. facts are facts

    It won't matter what plans anyone makes for a make over the GOP is still going to cater to the Religious Right. They just don't seem to recognize the average American has caught on to these bigots with their platform of discrimination and the holier than thou attitude.

    November 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Memo to RNC: Please vote for Dawson

    Your party has been a disaster for South Carolina. Worst schools, Highest unemployment. Most dangerous roads and bridges. Least accessible health care. Lowest SATs. Highest crime rates. No enonomic growth.

    Please help us by getting any and all Republicans out of the this state. Sanford in 2012 !!!!

    November 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. Nick

    Great, just great. Further alienate others by catering to the religious right. There last stronghold appears to be SC. These people complain about Graham, yet had no problem re-electing him.

    November 24, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. TjayeInLA

    As long as the GOP thinks its their job to tax the middle to lower incomes, but accuse of wanting handouts when we expect services in return for our taxes, it won't matter who is in charge.

    As long as they claim to want government out of personal lives, but they insist on using government to dictate our personal lives and values based on the religious right, it won't matter who is in charge.

    The GOP is lost because they can't seem to comprehend where we expect the government to be involved and where we expect them to butt out!

    November 24, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. annoymous

    As a democrat in SC let me say this the GOP is a powerhouse in our state, they have convenced the people of SC there is no other party to vote for & that the republican party is the right choice for them and you can not convence them otherwise....regardless of what the Bush Administration has done he remains very popular in SC....most here think Palin was a tremendous choice for VP....they dislike Senator Graham because he sometimes does some things leaning toward moderate legislature but will support him anyway until a more conservative challenger comes along...the pawn shops have been overwhelmed since Obama's win people buying up guns in fear of a stricter gun regulation

    November 24, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. paul (staunch Moderate)

    If any of them want to revive the republican reputation they better get a grip on reality. There is a faction of the membership continuing to push its extremist views to the forefront. The "basics" or "core" of the republican party should not include forcing a particular theology upon the populace. The core tenets of the party used to be Less Government, Strong Fiscal Responsibility, and a Strong Military Defense.

    I firmly believe the majority of citizens in this country have had a belly full of religious extremism. To continue to insist that everyone follow the extreme Christian evangelical beliefs in lock-step is not going to rebuild the party.

    They need to keep their religious beliefs where they belong: In the church on Sunday mornings.

    November 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Is he human?

    November 24, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Latina-Indepedent-4-OBAMA

    Note to the RNC: Choose someone from the MODERATE CENTER......the EXTREME RIGHT is KILLING YOU!

    November 24, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. paul oregon

    the what party???? maybe the G.O.P can pardon another TURKEY
    lol. lol. the rep. party just dont get it. until the admits that they caused 90 percent of the downfall of the U.S they will be the party of the WHAT .

    November 24, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Senator Cleghorn

    Just didn't get it, did they. Here comes another "Colonel Cornpone" complete with the bible thumping, naysayers of everything. Looks like the Democrats are going to be around awhile as the GOP sinks further and further into regional party status.

    November 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Independent In NY

    Congratulations Republicans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    64% of americans, you know, the patriotic ones, have a NEGATIVE opinion of the republican party. Finally the people of this country have seen through your hateful rhetoric and your FALSE patriotism.

    Sure make you wonder wht the other 36% could possibly be thinking.

    November 24, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Alfredo, from Florida

    So... I'm still trying to figure out why this is important. The republican party (note the lower case) has been relegated to nothing more than a regional party. It is primarily due to the religious zealots that have ruined the party. They don't seem to understand that we're no longer interested in politics of hate and agents of intolerance. So nominate and elect who you want. You're out in the woods for another 10 to 20 years.

    November 24, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. PA Independent

    Whoever gets the RNC job will have a bigger mess to clean up than a real elephant leaves behind. Good luck with all that, but if you pick a hard right culture warrior you'd better get ready for another licking in 2010. The majority of the nation is moving past the leftovers of the Sixties and into the 21st Century. Join us with a center-right philosophy of actual governance and you'll be better off!

    November 24, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Candia

    "Optimism, hope, freedom" – these were the last things on the minds of the Republicans of late! And how about some specifics instead of platitudes? And beforehand: How about some accountability for the mess they made of America?

    November 24, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. adon08

    As a swing voter, I think Micheal Steele would be a good choice. He will be able to bring some diversity to the party. No one from SC will be able to do that.

    November 24, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Robin in SC

    There is absolutely no such thing as a "moderate" Republican in SC. The RNC chair in SC is probably the easiest state chairmanship in the country...nothing to do but count the votes when they come in. Search elsewhere if you want to re-vamp, RNC!!!!!!!

    November 24, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. david

    My guess is they look to show a new improved product that amounts to a repackaging of the same old stuff that the Republicans have been craming down our throats for the last century and more. Everytime these clowns are in office for more than 4 years running they manage to tank the economy after ensuring more wealth for the members of the party at the expense of the vast majority of the American people. Trouble is the democrats are only marginally better and just as greedy and only concerned with the wealth of their party members.

    November 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Don

    Lets hope if elected he will use common sense instead of playing politics with all of America.

    November 24, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. tigerakabj

    I just read on Huffingtonpost that this guy just resigned from his white-only membership country club in S.C.

    Since this is exactly the type of attitude that is bringing down the party of Bush, I say keep it up.

    November 24, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. Tex Ann ~~~~~~~

    I really wish BOTH parties (and the people supporting the parties) would get over this name calling. Being a Democrat doesn't make you a "bleeding heart liberal" just as being a Republican doesn't necessarily make you a "far right wing-nut". There are some "factions" in BOTH parties that could stand a little dressing down.

    Bottom line- aren't we ALL Americans??? Aren't we ALL human beings??? Don't we ALL want pretty much the same things for ourselves & our families– prosperity, safety, good health, a good education, etc??? So-

    November 24, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    There are more points of religious view in the United States than simply evangelical conservatism. I am Methodist and a Democrat. The UMC largely does not insist on pushing a religious agenda into national politics. I just don't understand how these backwards, judgmental, so-called Christians got so much political clout over the last thirty years. It is dangerous and I don't need any politician, political party or state, local or federal government telling me what moral code I should adopt or what I should believe.

    November 24, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. brenda

    being from sc i would rather have michael steele and i look forward to seeing more of palin.

    November 24, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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