Like the chairman of the Michigan GOP, Saul Anuzis, the Spartanburg County Republican Party Chairman, Rick Beltram, heard the exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani in the second debate (held in Columbia, South Carolina), he decided he'd heard enough of Paul's views. He decided to ban Ron Paul from being invited to any of his party's events. [See comments on the beginning controversy here.]
Unlike Saul Anuzis, however, it did not take arm twisting by the national GOP to reverse course, but rather a flood of e-mails. Mr. Beltram wisely changed his tune within days and just offered to host a one-hour Q&A session for his party members with Ron Paul. Ron Paul accepted, and the details are being worked out for a final date and time.
Here is an italicized excerpt supplied by CherylAS at the above link:
We, the Spartanburg County GOP will hold a low cost event (cover charge) for attendees to have a PUBLIC Q&A with DR. PAUL here in Spartanburg, SC. NO OTHER CANDIDATES!! THIS WILL BE YOUR TIME to convince us that have incorrect information about Dr. Paul's political platform!
This will cost your campaign 0 dollars....except for the cost to get Dr. Paul to Spartanburg and if any overnight accommodations are needed!
10 minute opening presentation by Dr. Paul
12 questions from the audience (to be pre-screened by us and your campaign)
Meet and greet
Total: one hour
We would expect huge media coverage as we have gotten plenty of attention for our prior events and our electorate is a "microcosm" of the RED states!
One stipulation.....we need to do this BEFORE AUGUST 15th.....after that we have many pre-planned events to include multiple candidates.
This has led one South Carolinian to suggest the Spartanburg County GOP may be trying to capitalize on Ron Paul's popularity by charging at the door. [I think $25 a person is not unreasonable to alleviate costs of renting facility space.]
Now Beltram hopes to turn a profit on the event, scheduled for noon on July 21. The cost for the luncheon and a question-and-answer session is $25, with proceeds going to the county party.
The site - either the Aloha Restaurant or Summit Pointe Meeting and Events Center - will be determined based on ticket requests.
Beltram said he's guessing about 200 people will show up. Chris Lawton, a Paul supporter from Greer, said Beltram should guess again. Lawton on Saturday sent out an "urgent" e-mail to the Paul faithful, announcing the visit and proclaiming "limited seating for the first 1,000 who confirm now."
The Michigan, Iowa and South Carolina snubbing are nicely summed up here:
If thousands of Ron Paul supporters descend on this area, widely considered the key to political victory in South Carolina, we just might see that great state return to its Southern roots and embrace a healthy distrust of Washington. The people of South Carolina may just remember that, as Mark Twain himself said, "the Government is merely a servant" that cannot "determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't."
Maybe even guys like Saul Anuzis, Ed Failor, and Rick Beltram will eventually get on board with Ron Paul's message of non-intervention and personal liberty. After all, Twain also told us that "in times of change, the Patriot is a scarce man; brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot."
Nothing, perhaps, but a little taste of blowback.
Now curiously, a quick search for Spartanburg County Republican Party Chairman Rick Beltram turned up a question of ballot box stuffing:
The Spartanburg County Republican Party had its annual meeting recently, and held a presidential straw poll (March 2, 2007). The results were posted on CNN:
The important results were these:
Arizona Sen. John McCain: 164
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani: 162
California Rep. Duncan Hunter: 158
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback: 85
But here is the kicker: McCain was initially reported by Mr. Beltran as having only 114 votes, putting him in fourth place. Everyone else's vote totals were the same as currently reported by CNN at the time. Then, Beltran said the numbers got switched and it should have been 141 votes, still leaving McCain in fourth place.
Then it became 164 votes the next morning. Poof! A first place win for John McCain! Proving it ain't over till they say its over, and that some votes count more than others. [Perhaps he originally meant 164 instead of 114. A single digit transposition, though a strange one to get wrong. Written, it is a little hard to see missing a difference between a 1 and a 6. As a counting error it represents a 50 fold difference. Spoken, one hundred fourteen sounds vastly different than one hundred sixty-four. But I wasn't there. I do not know by what process the vote was taken, tallied and reported to the assembly. I don't know how good is Mr. Beltran's eyesight or hearing. I just know a straw poll is a bit of fun for the activists who have sweated for the cause, actually care enough to show up to conventions and meetings and ought to be given more respect than this demonstrates, IMHO.]
So Ron Paul, welcome to South Carolina politics.