April 29th, 2009
05:44 PM ET
14 years ago

Runner-up in RNC race tells GOP to stay conservative

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/16/art.dawson.cnn.jpg caption="Dawson has been chairman of the South Carolina GOP since 2002."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson e-mailed members of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday afternoon, urging them to stand by their convictions in the aftermath of Arlen Specter's defection to the Senate Democratic caucus.

"If we as a party will stand by the conservative platform that built our party, if we will not only reform government but look to provide quality constituent service, and if our candidates will hold themselves to the highest ethical standards, I know that Republicans can win in every corner of this great country," he wrote in the e-mail, provided to CNN by a Republican source.

Dawson sought the RNC chairmanship in January, but lost to Michael Steele in the final round of balloting. The South Carolina party chief had strong support on the committee from some of the RNC's most conservative members, some of whom remain skeptical of Steele.

Although Specter's party switch is seen as a blow to Republicans in the Northeast and in the U.S. Senate, Dawson downplayed the news as a rush to judgment on the part of the "liberal media" intent on writing the "political obituary of the Republican party."

"Despite these bad headlines and temporary political setbacks, I believe the best days are ahead for the Republican Party," he wrote. To illustrate his claim, Dawson pointed to a victory in a State House special election in South Carolina on Tuesday, in which Republican Steve Moss defeated rival Tim Spencer in a district held by Democrats for three decades. Dawson said Moss proved that conservatives can win because voters liked that the candidate "said what he did, and did what he said."

"It really was that simple," he wrote. "And it's getting back to basics is something we can all learn from this special election."

Dawson told the RNC membership, which includes the chairs of every state Republican party, that they must make it priority to recruit and train conservative candidates with positive messages who focus on government ethics.

Dawson is stepping down from his post in May.

Filed under: Katon Dawson • RNC
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. ROC

    You can always count republicans on one thing - being stubborn.

    April 29, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. Fay tx

    @Dawson sought the RNC chairmanship in January, but lost to Michael Steele in the final round of balloting. The South Carolina party chief had strong support on the committee from some of the RNC's most conservative members, some of whom remain skeptical of Steele.**Steele is bad news on a Rainy Day****

    April 29, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Veronica

    A party of TRUE Conservatives, yes.

    A party of paranoid, bigoted, and ignorant right-wing extremists who want to turn our democracy into a theocracy, think torture is okey-dokey, think those with 'guns make the rules', thinks brawn trumps brains, thinks everyone should live by THEIR interpretation of the Constitution, thinks big business interests trumps small business and private citizens, who denies that we're treating the earth like crape, and who want to isolate us from the rest of the world, NO.

    April 29, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. scott

    Specter has opened the gate.

    April 29, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. Mel of Alexandria

    Constructive conservatism will always have a chance, but when the party is being held hostage by a certain element that is hiding out in religious garb, no will do.

    April 29, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Simmy

    They won't change, and they won't win....Can't teach old dogs new tricks....

    April 29, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Mike

    I agree!!! That's it Republicans, keep doing what you are doing so we can be rid of you sooner!

    April 29, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. GOP Disaster

    The Party of No just keep digging a deeper hole! Come on board moderates!

    April 29, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Myassis Dragon

    Translation: Continue to say NO and offer nothing but lies and fear!!!

    April 29, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  10. Terry

    Conservatives have not thought of anything since Barry Goldwater's run against Lyndon Johnson. Reagan stole all of Goldwater's material and Conservatives ever since have been stealing paragraphs from Goldwater's speeches. If there are Conservatives in 2100 (I certainly hope they are extinct by then), they will still be talking about the Liberal Media, the Free Market (definition: a market controlled by foreign corporations), gay marriage, and flag burning.

    April 29, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. Jeff

    I am neither paranoid nor bigoted. I don't believe in torture as an ends to any means. I also know that intelligence will conquer might in most cases. I believe in good stewardship of our planet and would love to have an open and truly free market where we could trade with all nations.
    I see no reason not to be an open and honest society. We would all benefit in a world like that.
    However, I don't believe that there is any "interpretation" of the Constitution. I've read it several times and even if you have to look up the definition of some of the language it becomes very clear and is easily understood. It limits what our government can do and leaves the rest up to us to decide. So when I say, "NO" its not to you. I could care less what you do or how you live. It matters not to me so long as you do not infringe on my life, liberty, or property. My "NO" is to the government as it should be. But, I do agree with you that the Republican party (my party) has been diluted with busy bodies in conservative clothing, people who want to force me to do and act as they would have me do even though I wish to be left to my own accord. Self reliance is true freedom and liberty is well armed against the wolves that would eat it for dinner. Our Constitution ought not be taken too lightly as it is today. It and our guns are all that keeps you and me safe from a government hell bent on ruling our lives.

    April 29, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  12. Larry

    To ROC
    Democrats want to change everything–start breathing carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen,that will "stop global warming",sounds good to you doesn't it,there is so many things that sound good,but just can not be done--that is not being stubborn,it 's called intelligent.

    April 29, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |