COLUMBIA, S.C. — One of the few Republicans in South Carolina who is remaining steadfastly neutral in Saturday’s presidential primary told HUMAN EVENTS that the race is “wide open” and that the historical independence of Palmetto State voters means “we can’t be put in a box by the pollsters and the national media.”
In an exclusive interview with HUMAN EVENTS hours before the voting is set to begin, GOP State Chairman Chad Connelly — who under party bylaws must be neutral in the contested primary — said that polls and surveys showing different GOP candidates “were probably good for about an hour ago, but we can change our minds.”
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“We South Carolinians pride ourselves on our fierce independence,” Connelly told us, “Remember, our great-great-great grandfathers fired on the flag at Fort Sumter [in Charleston, the events considered by history the first shots fired in the Civil War].”
Connelly also cited what he considered three of the key groups within the South Carolina Republican Party — “social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and pro-military conservatives” — and pointed out that there was no consensus among any of the three over which of the GOP contenders to support.
“This is a good blend of what the party is comprised of here,” said the party chieftain, “and support among each group is spread out pretty evenly among the candidates.” He specifically referred to evangelical conservatives — of which he said proudly “I am one” — and noted that 60 percent of likely primary voters are “self-identified evangelical Christians.”
“But every one of the candidates has significant support in that community and among its leaders,” Connelly said, “You can’t put people in a box.”
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