“The Brad Show:” SC GOP Chairman Chad Connelly

Welcome to another guerrilla edition (as in, shot by me out in the field rather than the studio) of “The Brad Show.”

Our guest today: Chad Connelly, the new chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

I spoke with Chad over at the party HQ this morning. Since this was my first sit-down with him, I wanted to cover the bases — ask him to talk a bit about his background, etc. So we did.

But the hot topic — and if you can’t wait to get to it, it starts at 4:15 on the clip — was Gov. Nikki Haley’s threatened veto of funding for the SC GOP presidential primary in January.

Some highlights of that discussion:

  • He said there will be a presidential primary here, “no matter what.”
  • He said presidential primaries are so important that next time the Democrats have one, he’d be the first to support their bid for similar funding.
  • Total cost is a million dollars. Or maybe 1.5 million.
  • He expects to speak with the governor about it, and try to impress upon her the importance of the funding, this week. He’ll also be talking with legislative leaders.
  • Can General Assembly override a veto? “Yes,” he said.

Enjoy the show. This one is actually a bit shorter than most, which I hope you will appreciate. I asked about as many question as usual, but Mr. Connelly is a very focused speaker, which I guess adds up since that is his profession. It’s not that his answers were so short. It’s just that he said what he had to say to answer me, and stopped. Not many people do that.

28 thoughts on ““The Brad Show:” SC GOP Chairman Chad Connelly

  1. Brad

    OK, first thing, I want to apologize to Mr. Connelly for that thumbnail image. I didn’t pick it; YouTube did.

    I’ve gone in to pick another one (unfortunately, YouTube only offers me three choices, and none are good, but the one automatically chosen was the worst). I’ve saved the change, but YouTube says it could take up to 36 hours to change. I don’t know why it takes that long.

    By the way, I used YouTube instead of blip.tv because when I used blip on the Phil Noble interview, it took me a large part of two days to upload the video to my laptop, edit it, save it, and load it to blip.

    YouTube is faster (except on changing the thumbnail), and since this interview breaks some news, I was in a hurry….

  2. Mike

    I’m with Katon Dawson who says the state GOP just needs to raise the money and not rely on the state for it. Seriously – everyone in politics knows that like one of the few REAL jobs of a state party chairman is to fundraise. If Connelly is a competenet guy, then he and a staffer should be able to block out a week of call time and be well on their way to raising that $1.5 million. From what I hear, there are lots of moneyed stuffed suit types in SC Republican circles just waiting for his call.

  3. bud

    How can these folks keep from laughing at the absurdity of their hypocricy when they support something as un-necessary as a primary while trying to cut state workers jobs. What a complete and utter waste of taxpayer money. A caucus accomplishes the same thing for far less money. And the taxpayers can stay out of the funding process.

  4. bud

    But Mike why even have the state GOP spend that money? Isn’t it the Republicans who rail on and on about wasteful spending? Even if the taxpayers aren’t involved this would seem to be a slap in the face to working men and women who can’t get any kind of a break. These so-called “moneyed stuffed suits” should spend a little bit of money figuring out how to hire folks rather than throwing it away on a needless primary.

  5. Phillip

    It’s hard to imagine Nikki Haley’s rationale for vetoing money for a primary, since being wooed by the parade of GOP hopefuls would enhance her chances for the Veep nomination she seems to covet; could it be that she well knows that her veto is purely a symbolic sop to her Tea Party fans, a wink-and-a-nod agreement with legislators that they will override this veto?

  6. Brad

    Phillip, I refer you to Bud’s comment as for a “rationale” for Nikki. If you’re trying to prevent any restoration of funding for public schools, then it is perfectly consistent not to fund a primary.

    But I’m with Connelly on this, only for my own reasons.

    The state SHOULD run the primary, for the sake of the voters of SC. Everybody thinks of this as the party’s deal, and therefore want the party to pay for it. I don’t, because this goes FAR beyond the interests of a party. I’m for this funding for very UnParty reasons.

    If you are an individual voter in SC — Democrat, Republican, independent — this primary is your one chance to affect the outcome of the presidential election. The general election? Forget about it. An individual might as well stay home, because you know it’s going to the Republican (unless the Republicans go totally off the tracks in whom they nominate).

    With no Democratic primary this year, this is it. Your one chance to make a difference. And it’s a great chance, because you get a lot of attention from the candidates.

    Also — if the party paid for it, it would strengthen the hand of those who want to make the primary closed. That means I don’t get to vote at all (just as I don’t get to vote in a caucus), and millions of South Carolinians would be in the same boat. If the state’s paying for it, they have a lot less leverage in shutting the rest of us out.

    Of course, it would be STUPID for Republicans to close their primary (just as it was stupid for the Dems to try to close theirs in 2004, which Joe Erwin prevented at the last minute). That’s no way to grow a party. But partisans’ desires to “purify” leads them to do self-destructive things. And I don’t want to give them a leg up in doing that.

  7. Mike

    bud don’t both parties hold primaries – actually isn’t that kind of what political parties are supposed to do?

    If you’re saying that the state shouldn’t fund a party-sanctioned event (which presidential primaries are) then I’m with you. But I don’t see a connection betweek a political party raising private funds (which Democrats do plenty of too) and the working man not catching a break…

  8. `Kathryn Fenner

    As a rational American, I have to say that letting SC Republicans choose the Republican candidate is not a good thing for our nation. As a Columbia Rotary member–it’s fun to hear from all the national politicians who otherwise aren’t sure if Charlotte is in North Carolina or South Carolina. The primary press coverage is not all that flattering of our fair state–albeit fairly accurate as far as it goes.

    Nikki Haley must be counting on a veto override–consistency is not her strong suit, nor is passing up a chance to be on the national stage.

  9. Steven Davis

    So who should rational American, South Carolinians select to choose the Republican candidate… the SC Democratic party?

    Can the Republican party choose the Democratic candidate? Fair is fair. Unless the Democratic party wants to go ahead and select Alvin Greene for us.

  10. bud

    Should the taxpayers fund primaries for the Libertarians, Greens, Socialists, Communists, Reform or whatever other party wanted to have a primary? Why limit this to just the two major parties? It would get very expensive indeed if every party was subsidized by the taxpayers.

  11. Steven Davis

    @bud – Do you mean wasteful expenditure of government money like Michelle Obama and her entire clan vacationing in Africa? I hope they get a vacation photo of her and her family with the pretty blue and white 747 jumbo jet we chartered for them to use.

    Aren’t primaries paid for by the party and not the taxpayers?

  12. Mike

    I would think that people of the UnParty persuasion would be the very people who would promote the idea of responsibility in voting – as in, voters should actually gove a thorough examination of the candidates and not just vote for someone because of the “D” or “R” after their name. The notion that self-identified members of one party should be encouraged to vote in the primary election of another party sounds like another example of irresponsibility in voting. If a bunch of Democrats decided to vote for Michele Bachmann in the SCGOP primary simply because they believed she would be the easiest for Obama to defeat in the general, well that’s not exactly a noble way to responsibly exercise one’s franchise.

    Remember: like it or not, they are called party primaries for a reason.

  13. Brad

    No, Mike, quite the contrary. Since I could not care less about whether the person has a D or an R after his name, I believe I should be able to vote in BOTH primaries. Because that’s what determines who is on the ballot in the fall.

    What I want is the Louisiana approach, where everyone gets to vote on who will be on the general election ballot. For me, it’s all about maximum prerogative for the VOTER, and I could not care less about the prerogatives of the parties. When you express concern about a Democrat being able to vote in a Republican primary, or vice versa, you’re looking at it from a party’s perspective. I am not.

    And Bud, yours is a very good lawlerly objection (when you mention alternative parties). But I’m not a lawyer; I look at political reality.

    The primaries — the actual primaries, the Democratic and Republican — are run according to certain legal standards that govern elections. That actually is Connelly’s problem, as he explains it — his lawyers tell him the party CAN’T run a primary because, for instance, it doesn’t have access to the approved, official machines.

    I don’t know whether he’s right or wrong about that. But I do know this: I live in Lexington County. If you bar me from voting in Republican primaries, I basically get no say in who will represent me in the Legislature, or county council, or who holds county office. Because the winner of the Republican primary is the person who will win the office; he or she will likely not even be opposed in the fall, because opposition is not politically feasible.

    So if I am barred from voting in the Republican primary — which I was by law last year, because there were no Republicans I wanted to vote for for governor (so I asked for a Democratic ballot so I could vote for Vincent Sheheen) — I am totally disenfranchised from having a say on those other offices.

    Our election laws are drafted by Republicans and Democrats, and benefit those parties. Our election laws SHOULD be written with the prerogatives of the VOTER as first consideration.

  14. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Steven Davis–the choice is do SC Repubs use a primary we all pay for, that attracts national attention and exerts undue influence over the electoral process, or do they have a caucus?

    We get these fringe-y candidates with our nutty primary system–worse than usual because the people of NH and SC exert so much influence. Neither state is representative of the country at large, but so many credible candidates wash out before the country at large gets a chance to vote on them.

  15. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – Maybe you should write a letter to the Republican party with your concerns.

  16. bud

    I am totally disenfranchised from having a say on those other offices.

    That’s the same argument I have made for years about the electoral college. A vote in SC is basically wasted for POTUS. The same could be said for about 2/3 of all states.

    Brad you’re just not at all consistent here. You rant and rave and carry on endlessly about how you hate the parties. Then you turn around and support a system that gurantees the two major parties are the only players. If we can’t subsidize the minor parties at least let’s not subsidize the two bigs. Otherwise you’re supported the very thing you fervently claim to be against.

  17. Steven Davis

    How many of those First Ladies included their extended family members to join them? For what political reason is her mother, niece and nephew tagging along at taxpayer expense?

    Interesting thing in that article, all of the First Ladies mentioned except for Laura Bush were Democrats.

  18. tim

    Laura Bush went on several trips to Africa, per the article, including taking in a safari trip with her kids. At the time, I think we also heard some tree frogs chiming in with the crickets, but oddly, no “grouse-calls”. While Mrs. Bush was doing some important work there regarding drawing attention to many notable and important issues such as AIDS, hunger and poverty, I don’t think the same could be said of her shopping trip to Paris (more pleasant, calm meadow sounds were heard in the distance). But she is a nice lady who did a lot of good in her time, so I really didn’t care.

  19. `Kathryn Fenner

    I do not kid myself that the Republican party gives a rip about ANY of my concerns….

  20. Steven Davis

    @tim – Couldn’t Laura find time for her mother or nephews to tag along? Maybe they could have brought everyone and had a family reunion just like Michelle did. If the spouse accompanies a state employee flying for free on a trip, they have to pay for the spouse’s ticket. What would a person’s flight cost be to fly on a 747 from Washington, DC to several countries in Africa and have the plane sitting on stand-by while they go on a safari jeep ride or watch their daughter/aunt do pushups with Desmond Tutu?

    And why are we paying for the President’s mother-in-law to live in the White House? Does she get a security detail? I’m sure she does. How does she get around, does she take the bus, drive her own car, or get transported in a taxpayer provided limo?

  21. tim

    I am relieved to know that your chief grouse is that Michelle took two of her children’s cousins to meet Nelson Mandela. What a searing indictment. The first look into “nephew-gate”. Maybe they should count the cutlery on the plane after they left on their “stickin it to the Man” tour.

  22. bud

    Steven’s problem is he doesn’t know who is on his side. If he did he wouldn’t be such a diehard supporter of the GOP. There are a number of graphs online that show just how lopsided the income distrubution has become in the country over the last 30 years. The middle class is being squeezed out while the poor just keep getting poorer. Only the top 1% or maybe even the top 1/10 of 1% are actually improving their lot in life lately. Too bad our president seems to be siding more and more with the Republicans. In the meantime the rest of us struggle just to pay the mortgage.

Comments are closed.