South Carolina GOP elects Obama's 'worst nightmare'
May 7th, 2011
04:23 PM ET
10 years ago

South Carolina GOP elects Obama's 'worst nightmare'

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Republicans elected a new party chairman Saturday who vowed to be President Barack Obama's "worst nightmare."

More than 1,000 Republicans tapped Chad Connelly, a businessman and chairman of the Newberry County Republican Party, to helm the party organization through the state's closely-watched presidential primary season.

Connelly survived two rounds of balloting to defeat Bill Connor, a former candidate for lieutenant governor, and Greenville attorney Stephen Brown.

"You guys just elected Barack Obama's and Dick Harpootlian's worst nightmare," Connelly told the audience after his win, naming the president and the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party as his foils.

Connelly immediately faces the challenge of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to run the presidential primary, tentatively scheduled for February. Because only Republicans are having a contested presidential primary in 2012, the task of running the election is expected to fall to the state party.

In a cost-cutting measure, Gov. Nikki Haley has come out against using state money to fund the primary. The South Carolina legislature is still debating whether to fund the contest, which might cost over $1 million.

"We don't even know how much" the party has to raise, Connelly told reporters after his win. He said he has transition meetings scheduled to "find out where we are" and noted that he has been asking state legislators to sign off on using state money for the primary.

Connelly said he has "an aggressive fundraising plan" in place and promised to run a "lean and mean" operation to keep overhead low.

He also vowed to protect South Carolina's cherished status as one of the first four presidential nominating states in the face of threats from other states - notably Florida - to move up their primary and caucus dates in violation of the calendar approved by the Republican National Committee.

"We are going to be the first-in-the-South primary," he said. "If we have to trick-or-treat for the first vote, then we will. We will be first in the South. There is no doubt about that."

Filed under: 2012 • GOP • South Carolina
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. GL

    He can be not different then the Tea baggers and Trump. There the Republicans go again using fear.

    May 7, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. DOS

    I would rather Connelly focus on improving how Republicans better serve the country as opposed to merely going after the Democrats. Focus on the issues, not on becoming someone's nightmare... sheesh! Grow up Republicans, us Independents we are watching you too, and so far we're much less than impressed with your megaphones (Trump, Palin, Bachman, etc.)..

    May 7, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Debra From Georgia

    The President hunted down the worst and the most wanted man in American History, I will take him any day. I do not care if he is the worst President. Although I think he is the best President we ever had

    May 7, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. J

    I don't think Obama is scared you him or any of the GOP idiots

    May 7, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. John

    Ummm yeah Obama is real scared....NOT! 2012 is in the bag! Why? Once those Refooligan Govs declared war on the middle class, Teachers, Policeman and Fireman you lost the election. Nobody really wants to run against Obama...that would be close to 2 billion dollars wasted in a hevay loss.

    May 7, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. once upon a horse

    I thought Doonald Trump was supposed to be Obama's worse least that's what Trump said and we see how that all turned out. Besides anything that comes out of South Carolina could be considered a nightmare PERIOD seeing what they have over there. And the thing about all nightmares, once you wake up from them you find out it wasn't real and just a bad dream.

    May 7, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Roscoe

    Obama's worst nightmare? That's nothing compared to what this guy's wife wakes up to every day.

    May 7, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. ARTRaveler

    If the Republicans manage to get the state to fund their side-show, the Democrats should insist on equal treatment and have a Obama party. Otherwise, pay for your own hate match. Maybe you should think of joining the US and becoming part of the solution instead of a ciontinuing cyst on America. Hey, Obama is half white!!!!

    And yes, I lived there and it is all about race. They can't stand a smart black/white man, especuiallty one that much smarter than any of them.

    May 7, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. LisaBrennan

    Just keep adding to the smoldering pile....hate mongers, tea baggers, what a foul bunch. Obama is light years apart from any of them on all issues human, on all things that define us.

    May 7, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Doc Ock

    Again....lots of GOP Obama bashing....but no ideas, no future policies (other than rip on anything Obama does).

    Will be fun watching GOP "debates".....are they all just going to stand around talking about how much they all hate Obama? How will any of them be able to oppose each other?

    May 7, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Thankfully Independent

    After reading this the phrase pompous blowhard enters my mind, followed by images on Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump and Haley Barbour. Sadly (for him), Chad Conelly isn't anywhere close to being in their league.

    May 7, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. Kaci

    Nothing in this article indicates that Republicans, or this Republican cares anything about Americans or that state of the country, or jobs, housing, the economy, crime, etc. Their only platform is "Beat Obama." This shows you their focus, and they will tear this country apart to achieve their goal. Anyone that votes for the current slate of Republican traitors is a traitor himself.

    May 7, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Angel

    These Republican are certainly Evil. Who cares they are so Evil in South Carolina that then Edwards run for President they did not back Him either, which is why all these Red states are getting in other ways Mother Nature. I would not waste my precious breath thinking about South Carolina. They evil Old Racist white men. Trying to Hold on to something that's most people with a brain don't give a dame about....

    May 7, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Eric

    That's Republicans for you, rhetoric and slogans more appropriate for a high school football rivalry.

    May 7, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. sandi

    I always thought we were supposed to be examples of the American Dream, not the nightmare. Someone keeps waking up on the wrong side of the political bed.

    May 7, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Steve, New York City

    Ah – a southern GOP'er – they really are a different breed.
    This is some stupid politician who vows to be a nightmare, instead of trying to work with the other party to correct the country's ills? What a terrible imbecile!

    It seems to me – like the birthers – this guy wants to tap into the anger of the "extreme right," who continue to be incensed that the president of the United States is not a white guy (and therefore, does not deserve to be president. Unfortunately for them, not everyone is stupid.

    May 7, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Nakasone

    In your dreams. Obama will be your worse night mare. Please stick to the issues. Obama will not waste his resources in South Carolina anyway. California's got his back. Does electorial sound familiar?

    May 7, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. FM

    Republicans are scared themselves. They are throwing anyone there regardless of what qualifications one holds. Just continue fumbling and the time is not in your side!

    May 7, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. JJ

    Just another old white red neck guy, nothing new here...

    May 7, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Yobee

    Anything from the Carolinas IS scary. I doubt the President even heard about this latest pipsqueak.

    May 7, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. saywhaat

    Worst nightmare my ass.. But what can anyone expect from the rurals of onion munching squirrel eating racist hick town South Carolina, a place deprived of first rate education and progressive technology. But hey good luck with that though.

    May 7, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Indy

    Pretty wish washy statements for such a big threat, they might want to focus on America rather then be Obamas boogey man because that has been done to death with no success. Hard to take anyone serious when their priority is bashing the President instead of helping the people who would elect them.

    May 7, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Adalbert

    President Obama has nothing to fear. This bozo can’t add two and two together.

    May 7, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Larry L

    Interesting that South Carolina couldn't really draw the GOP front-runners. This guy will be the ring-master for Circus-O-Crazy. How can anybody serious American support the GOP's collection of wackos? When did hatred, ignorance, and bigotry become desirable traits for political office?

    May 7, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Seattle Sue

    I thought Trump the Stump was to be Obama's worst nightmare. What a arrogant Republican/Tea Party person, I am tired of these people spouting off, I remember a few years ago when Obama took on the Republican Party at their own retreat/meeting and showed the world they were not a match for Obama.

    May 7, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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