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Petition Campaigns to Hold Little Sway, Say Influential Republicans

The inaugural Red Palmetto survey asked more than 90 influential conservatives in South Carolina about the recent ballot issues.

Conservative South Carolina political insiders are upset by a recent Supreme Court decision that forced more than 180 candidates off the summer primary ballots, but they don't think those candidates will have much success as petition candidates. That's the main finding of the inaugural Red Palmetto survey conducted by South Carolina Patches.

Ninety influential conservatives from the Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston areas were asked using an automated survey tool what they thought of the High Court decision and the fallout. Sixty responses were collected.

A majority (53.4 percent) of respondents said the Supreme Court decision was “completely inappropriate” (44.8 percent) or “somewhat inappropriate” (8.6 percent). 

An overwhelming majority (86.2 percent) believe that fixing state law to prevent candidates from struggling to correctly register for upcoming party elections is a priority moving forward. More than half (58.6 percent) called it a top priority.

Half of respondents (50 percent) said candidates who are unable to run in their party primaries next week should attempt to make the November ballots through petition, and campaign for office in earnest. 

But Red Palmetto respondents don't believe those candidates will be successful.

More than 40 percent said none or virtually none of those candidates will successfully make November ballots. Another one-third said only a quarter will be successful. Only a quarter (26.3 percent) of those who responded said half or more of those who attempt to make ballots through petition will be successful.

And more than fourth-fifths (81 percent) of those who responded said those candidates will have little or no impact on the November elections.

The Red Palmetto Survey

Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican activists, party leaders and elected officials in South Carolina. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Interviews were conducted between May 30 and June 1, 2012.

Patch will be conducting Red Palmetto and Blue Palmetto surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in South Carolina.

If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly surveys that lasts just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Chris Winston at chris.winston@patch.com.

Red Palmetto Roster: Aubry Alexander (Charleston City Council-District 9), Thomas Alexander (State Senator), Dean Allen (Tea Party Activist), Charm Altman (President Sea Island Republican Women), Todd Atwater (S.C. Rep. Dist. 87), Rep. Nathan Ballentine (SC House Dist. 71), Bill Banning, Sr. (Vice-chair, Lexington County Council), Bob Barnwell (Richland Co. GOP Spring Valley), Joseph Bates, Jr. (Committeeman/ Richland Co. GOP Dutch Fork), Gresham Barrett (Former U.S. Congressman, current consultant), Eric Bedingfield (State Rep/Congressional Staffer), Rick Beltram (Former Spartanburg GOP Chair, Self-quoter), Lin Bennett (Chair, Charleston County GOP), Rich Bolen (Chair, Lexington County GOP), Andrew Boucher (Business consultant and political advisor), Phillip Bowers (Chairman, Pickens County Republican Party), Dan Bracken (President, The Auction Co. & Real Estate Inc.), Edward Britt (Engineer), Joe Bustos (Former town councilman), Jay Byars (Dorchester County councilman), Bob Call (Berkeley County Councilman), Tim Callanan (Berkeley County GOP Chairman), Earl Capps (Blogger), Ed Carter (Small business owner), Erica Christian (Chairwoman of Young Upstate Republicans) Ben Coakley (Investment adviser), Edward Cousar (Executive Director, Black Republican PAC), M. Todd Cullum (Lexington County Council member), Rep. Joe Daning (Statehouse rep.), Smokey Davis (Lexington County Council member), Dana Eiser (Lowcountry 9.12 president), Linda Eiser (9/12 conservative), Scott Farmer (Richland County GOP Committeeman), Chip Felkel (Political Consultant), Will Folks (Editor, fitsnews.com; spokesman for former Gov. Mark Sanford), Leland Glen (Author), Chris Godbey (Political Consultant), Susan Grady (Republican activist), Randy Halfacre (Mayor of Lexington), Dan Hamilton (State Representative), Larry Hargett (Dorchester County Council chairman), Val Hutchinson (Richland County Council), Johnny Jeffcoat (Town of Lexington Economic and Community Catalyst; Lexington County Council member), Debbie Jones (9.12 Board Member), Joanne Jones (Republican activist), Grayson Kelly (Fundraiser), James Kinard (Banker, Chair, Lexington County Council), Todd Kincannon (Lawyer/former executive director of SC Republican Party), Bob Kouvolo (President/ MaxPt), Jim Lee (S.C. Senate candidate), Mickey Lindler (Chairwoman for Republicans of Lexington and Richland Counties), Chris Mann (City Councilman), Karen Martin (Organizer/Spartanburg Tea Party), Larry Martin (State Senator), Taft Matney (Conservative Political Consultant), James Metts (Lexington County Sheriff), Matt Moore (Executive Director for SC GOP), Susan Morris (Nonprofit executive director), Mike Murphee (Charleston Tea Party chairman), Deborah Myers (Political activist), Brent Nelsen (Professor of Political Science/former candidate for Supt. of Education), Don Nye (Bank employee), Allen Olson (Former Chairman of Columbia TEA Party), Walt Owens (University Professor), Randy Page (President,South Carolinians for Responsible Government), Gregory Pearce (Richland Co. Councilman), Kathy Perry (Charleston County Republican Women), Adam Piper (SC GOP 3rd Vice Chairman & political director for Huntsman campaign), Zach Pippin (GOP Media Consultant), Barbara Pulicicchio (Political activist), Rick Quinn (S.C. Rep. Dist. 69), Jeff Reuer (Vice Chair Goose Creek 9-12), DeLinda Ridings (SC GOP State Secretary/Huntsman campaign), Robby Robbins (Lawyer), Emily Rudolph (Sea Island Republican Women), LaDonna Ryggs (Spartanburg GOP Chair), Michael Sally (Hanahan City Councilman), Dennis Saylor (Chair, Aiken GOP), Lanneau Siegling (State Executive Committeeman), Billy Simons (Conservative activist), Garry Smith (State Rep), John Steinberger (Fair Tax activist), Alex Stroman (SCGOP Political Director), Shell Suber (VP for Public Affairs and Business Development at The Felkel Group, a political public relations company), Mary Ann Taylor (Charleston County Republican Women/Charleston County School Board), September Wellborn (State GOP Delegate), Jennifer Willis (County Councilwoman/ V.P. One Tree Hill), Henry Wilson (2011 delegate, S.C. Republican Convention), Kerry Wood (Consultant, former SC Campaign manager for Rick Santorum) Cheryl Woods-Flowers (Former mayor, Republican official), James David Woodard (Professor of Political Science, Clemson University).

Jerry Carman October 11, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I see that all of these folks in that red survey are GOP bigwhigs, & alot of them are incumbents, including Larry Martin. None of them appear to be average voters. I'd like to know what makes them so smart. Do they know something about average folks vote that we don't know? Maybe they think we'll vote a straight Republican ticket.

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