How the birthers read Obama's recently released birth certificate:
(This is from MoveOn, by the way. Click the image to visit their site.)
Mt. Pleasant's William J. Hamilton videotaped last night's debate between Phil Noble and Dick Harpootlian, the two top candidates for chair of the state Democratic Party.
In two segments, the video is viewable below. (In both clips, Noble is the candidate speaking first.)
Remember, South Carolina Democrats – the annual party convention is this Saturday, April 30. Please read on to learn the recent changes, additions and formalities all delegates should know beforehand.
Convention Resolutions available for review
Compiled by the state party’s executive committee, there are five detailed resolutions that delegates will approve by vote. (Click here to review those proposed resolutions.)
Additional resolutions can be introduced from the floor at the convention, too.
Convention Rules released
The official rules for the event have been compiled and are now available for review (click here).
One point of interest detailed in the rules is the official voting procedure for races with multiple candidates. If no one gets majority vote in an initial round, the lowest placing candidate is removed from the slate, and votes will be cast again. Lowest placing candidates will continue to drop anytime a majority vote isn’t reached; the procedure continues until a single candidate gets majority vote support from state delegates.
In the elections for party officers, delegates will cast their votes on paper ballots. Names and signatures must be included on those ballots in order for votes to count.
Other issues aside from these elections will still be decided by standing vote, however.
In the race for 3rd Vice Chair, incumbent Jamarr Brown officially announced that he’s not seeking re-election. Brown did not offer formal endorsement of any other candidate in his announcement.
Another candidate, Ra Shad Frazier-Gaines of Aiken, formally announced his candidacy for this same 3rd Vice Chair position. You can learn more about him at his facebook campaign page.
The other two candidates are Will Maxey and D.C. Swinton.
Another candidate is officially in the 2nd Vice Chair race, too. Kathryn E. Hensley, longtime Democrat in the state and former SCDP treasurer, spoke at a candidate forum in North Charleston on Wednesday. “The challenge is to find activists and provide with the funds and resources to get out the vote,” Hensley said at the event. Click here to see her personal facebook page.
The other three candidates are current party chair Carol Fowler, Sheila Gallagher of Florence, and Melissa Watson, chair of the Berkeley County Democratic Party.
The race for 1st Vice Chair is down to one candidate. At last night’s forum, Mike Evatt of Oconee County officially suspended his campaign. One primary goal of ensuring written ballots at state party conventions was officially met, he stated. Evatt’s also confident in remaining candidate Jaime Harrison’s capabilities to achieve his other goal of revitalizing the party. Evatt announced his endorsement of Phil Noble for party chair before concluding his statement.
There have been no changes to the slate of candidates for party chair; the candidates are Dick Harpootlian, Lee Jenkins and Phil Noble.
Well, the State of Hawaii has released an official long-form birth certificate, calling an end to the 'birther' claims that Pres. Obama was not a natural born U.S. citizen.
And now Donald Trump is claiming all the credit. "I've accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish," he said this morning on his campaign tour of New Hampshire.
In recent weeks, Trump has repeatedly claimed doubt in Obama's actual citizenship, and even said he sent investigators to Hawaii to research official records.
But today's verifying revelation returns the ball to Trump's side of the net.
In an April 19 interview on Good Morning America, Trump stated hesitancy to release his own tax records. When questioned further by George Stephanopoulos, he replied, "Maybe I'm going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate...I'd love to give my tax returns. I may tie my tax returns into Obama's birth certificate."
Well, Donald, we want to see them. You got the documents you kept whining for, so now you have to return the gesture, just like you said you would on national television.
The race for chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party may be rising in intensity, but many delegates are now breathing a sigh of relief with the latest update: the state executive committee resolved to use written ballots for its officer elections at this weekend's convention.
Whereas some party elections in previous years were decided by standing vote in which delegates could be immediately identified visually, this modification allows some anonymity. While ballots will still bear voters' names at the 2011 convention, delegates can at least maintain some inconspicuousness at the time of their vote.
Rumors of intimidation and even vote buying by candidate Dick Harpootlian and his supporters are circulating within the community and reached a new height Tuesday, when some delegates state they received phone calls directly from the Harpootlian.
Surprised to receive his direct call due to their open and established endorsement of Phil Noble for the position, these delegates claim Harpootlian's manner turned "arrogant" after they expressed continued support for Harpootlian's opponent during their conversations.
And during a teleconference call conducted by Noble, online comments to the facebook page of the South Carolina Democratic Women were made by declared Harpootlian supporters and staff who sneakily participated in the call. Their evaluative opinions and comments of the teleconference were quickly challenged and corrected by other participants, however. Comments last came to a close by a unifying request from Susan Smith, delegate and state executive committee representative from Georgetown County.
Lee Walter Jenkins, third candidate for chair, will join Noble and Harpootlian Wed. Apr. 27 for a candidate forum at North Charleston City Hall (2500 City Hall Ln in N. Charleston). Beginning at 6 p.m., most candidates for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice Chair will also be present.
Some staunch supporters of Dick Harpootlian to be next state Democratic Party chair assert that competitor Phil Noble didn’t contribute to campaign efforts in Charleston.
But Noble’s latest endorser, former party chairman of Charleston county, corrects those claims.
In a mass email submitted today to state delegates, Noble received formal endorsement from John Tecklenburg , who said “Phil’s insight and experience were critical to me in my role as (Charleston) County Chair.”
Harpootlian supporters previously issued claims that Noble contributed to a Republican candidate in 2002, and in retort to release of evidence of Harpootlian’s regular donations to GOP candidates. After having their claims against Noble refuted, though, and directly by the former director of the Federal Election Commission, supporters of the former party chair now claim that Noble did not offer regular contributions to local Democrats.
Harpootlian donated approximately $500,000 to Democratic candidates, he states.
While those monetary contributions are certainly appreciated, that’s not all we need from a state party chair, Tecklenburg says. “I’ve known Phil a long time and although (I) will admit to you that he’s not a wealthy man, I can assure you that he is rich in good ideas for our Party and for South Carolina, and believe that he has the leadership and organizational skills to lead our party back to success.”
Tecklenburg’s endorsement, which concludes “I believe our State Party would greatly benefit from Phil’s leadership today,” joins the endorsements and statements of support from over 250 party activists and state delegates, including current and former county party chairs, state executive committee members and national delegates.
I just got this from the blog of Georgetown's Jamie Sanderson:
"Statement from Lee Jenkins:
'In light of Dick Harpootlian’s racially insensitive remarks and the recent revelation regarding his financial support of republican candidates, I am calling on Congressman Clyburn to withdraw his endorsement of Harpootlian for SC Democratic Party State Chair, and instead use his influence to urge all candidates to publicly support the creation of a Minority Caucus within the State Democratic Party.'"
Click here to read all of Jenkins' statements from Jamie's website.
Or maybe Trump-ootlians?
Well, either term seems fitting right now. After all, some Harpootlian fans are online making the same demands as those rightwing loons.
At least my wife thinks so; after reading a comment thread on SC Soapbox, the first thing to pop out of Debbie’s mouth was “those people are just like the birthers!”
And her comparison is all too true. (I even made that known on that same thread, but doubt my comment will stay there very long…)
Y’all know about the Birthers, right? Birthers are the folks who claim the president was born in Kenya, thus eliminating his eligibility for the office; of course, people with IQs above that of a possum challenge those claims, stating the fact that Obama was born in Hawaii. The Birthers refuse to accept the counterargument, though, claiming they need official proof. When a Certificate of Live Birth is provided from the State of Hawaii, however, the Birthers claim it to not be a valid, original document. Now the Birthers demand more, claiming they must have an original birth certificate and directly from the president himself.
And the folks over in Soapbox land are making the same demands as the Birthers regarding the race for SCDP chair.
Harpootlian made claim that Noble donated to a Republican in 2002 (Phil Crane). That particular candidate’s campaign was fined and audited by the FEC, though, and for not properly identifying its contributors. In addition, that campaign had many other serious errors, even reporting contributions from two different Phil Nobles from two different addresses. When this is pointed out to the Har-birther-lians, though, they claim they need proof.
So I provide them with the records that verify my claims of invalid campaign reports for Crane – the record of arrest and conviction of that campaign treasurer, Chris Ward, who admitted he made up donor claims in order to cover his tracks of theft, and who is today in federal prison for those crimes.
But the Trump-ootlians say they still need more. So the Noble team actually provided official statement from Scott Thomas, who was director of the Federal Election Commission during the time of these shenanigans. Thomas stated “Noble’s name was fraudulently used by Ward and the Crane campaign.” He even offered his telephone number and email address so that anyone could contact him for further verification.
Get that, folks? The relevant director of the FEC himself says that the claims by Harpootlian aren’t true! Says it’s okay for doubters (birthers) to contact him directly for verification. Phil Noble’s claim that he never once contributed to a Republican candidate’s campaign (unlike Harpootlian … cough cough) are 100-percent valid!
But these Trump-ootlians/Harp-birther-lians still aren’t satisfied, and still won’t accept that they made a fraudulent claim! Because the FEC still has copy of the 2002 record that contained those fraudulent claims means these birther babes can still have doubt, they say.
“(T)he burden was definitely on Phil to prove it was, in fact, fraudulent,” says Laurin Manning, who operates the SC Soapbox website. Another commenter, T.J., says “I want a signed statement on FEC letterhead before I will believe Phil(.)”
That’s right, folks. Direct report from the FEC chair himself doesn’t qualify. They think Phil should be able to forcibly jump into the old, original FEC records and change them himself, even though they’re from nine years ago, and even though follow-up reports from the FEC (as well as the FBI, DOJ and even the damn Republican Party) refute those records. These Harpootlian fans refuse the first document provided by an FEC official, and now insist on some other FEC document.
And what’s that spell? B-I-R-T-H-E-R.
Well, if they’re going to continue that claim, then I’ll have to pull out another question myself. I refrained from making this comment before, because I thought it would making too much of a good thing – like attempting two extra points after a touchdown or something. But if the birthers are going to keep it up, well …
Campaign finance records are only available from the FEC’s website for a limited time. Go to its site right now, and you’ll find that the earliest records you can get are from the 2007-2008 election cycle.
Har-birther-lians, though, are using some initial filing of finance reports from a 2002 campaign for their argument. Where did they get them, then? How long has Harpootlian had them? And since these records are apparently from some inside source, doesn’t it stand to reason, then, that the Harpootlian team also had the info that disproved those records? Meaning that he/they knew all along that the claim was invalid, but chose to use it anyway? And hoped to overlook, if not suppress, the follow-up information that disproved the claim?
And does that mean that he/they thought we delegates were too dumb to be able to find out the truth?
Well, we have the truth. And if Har-birth-lians don’t want to believe it, well…let them stay at home and watch the election results on FOX News. We real SC Dems will be at the convention to elect a real party chair.
In closing, let me make the same offer here that I made to Laurin on her website: “You vote your candidate, I’ll vote mine, and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee after the election no matter who wins. (The donuts are on you, though).”
And I really, really, really want to talk to you about another project, too, one in which I’d like you to be featured. (I’m leaning towards scones, by the way.)
When this is over, we still have to work together. Don’t forget that this convention election is not a “we versus them” ordeal, either – we’re teammates selecting a team captain.
Now be a good teammate, folks, and lay off the birther trash. If you don’t, it’s going to cost you quite a few donuts.
While the state Democratic Party convention consists of many different features and functions, the most important one is the election of new officers.
Of course, the office of party chair gets the most attention, but there are three other races state delegates will vote in. We’ll be electing a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice Chair, too.
I’ve already made my wholehearted support of Phil Noble for party chair well known, but hope to remind delegates of the other races that aren’t getting the same amount of attention in emails and on blogs.
Those other races need our attention, too, though. These positions are the ones that provide representation of our state to the national party, greatly aid in fundraising, help define issues and platforms, and help us on the county level, too.
And throughout the scope of candidates we have for these three positions, you’ll find many similarities. All agree that we need to build the party up from the grassroots level, for example. Each wants county parties to get more attention and aid. We need to improve the reputation of the party in our state, they recognize. And all promise to do all they can to achieve these goals.
That’s what made it hard for me to select which candidates I’ll vote for. I either know or know much of each of them, and have a lot of respect for all. I’m also sure that all are capable. So please note that my personal selections are not meant to be divisive.
After all, we’re not choosing from opposing sides in a bitter contest. We’re picking who’ll be the captains of our team. Please keep that in mind while perusing my selections (thus “endorsements”) for the vice chair position.
According to state party rules: “The First Vice Chair shall be of a race different from the Chair, the Second Vice Chair shall be of a gender different from the Chair, and the Third Vice Chair shall be between the ages of 18 and 30 years of age.”
All three declared candidates for chair are male, and the top two candidates are white. As a result, we can assume the 1st Vice must be non-Caucasian, while the 2nd Vice Chair position will definitely go to a woman.
There are only two declared candidates for 1st Vice, and who are of different ethnicities. And because it seems apparent that the sole African-American candidate for state party chair is far behind his opponents in the running, it stands to reason that the 1st Vice will only be eligible to a black candidate.
That will leave out the one I know personally, Mike Evatt. Mike represents Oconee County at the state party Executive Committee, and joined me at the 2008 Democratic National Convention as an Edwards delegate.
The points of his platform hit me right at heart, too: grass roots instead of “insiders”; expansion of state party attention to the county and rural levels; and hold the Republican incumbents accountable for the mess they’re leaving us in.
The party rules will eliminate Evatt from the slate after the election for party chair, though, and I won’t be able to vote for him either way. But given the very impressive record of the sole remaining candidate, I’m not complaining one bit.
from Jaime Harrison's facebook page
Jaime Harrison is a hero, not just to our party, but to the entire state. He grew up in rural Orangeburg, but wound up at Yale on scholarship. He continued his education at Georgetown Univ., where he received his law degree; he’s even returned education to his community, too, as a teacher in his hometown.
He developed a positive reputation on the national level while interning for Rep. Clyburn and by working as Executive Director of the U.S. House Democratic Caucus, making national news quite a few times for the impressive reputation he developed there.
He’s well adept at fundraising, as his record shows. Harrison’s declared fundraising to be a primary goal, as well.
He has support from party members across the state, too - even from ones who are split on support for party chair, which indicates Harrison can be the super glue adhesive we need to retain unity in the state party.
Harrison is ready for the job, too, and declares strong goals on his campaign facebook page. “We must proudly and boldly promote our core beliefs and principles; we cannot become Republican-lite.”
And just like Evatt (and like our entire state party, not to mention), Harrison vows to improve representation at the county level through grassroots organizing.
In short, Harrison is a well-qualified candidate who can help rebuild pride in the South Carolina Democratic Party, and who can make sure that party unity is retained. Even though we won’t exactly have a choice in this race, we couldn’t ask for a better choice than Jaime Harrison.
When it comes to 2nd Vice Chair, we have three declared candidates; one is well-known in the party, another semi-known in one region and through one trade, and the other is not as well-known as she should be. And it’s the latter candidate who’ll get my vote at the convention.
Melissa's official 2008 delegate photo
Melissa Watson is party chair in Berkeley County, which borders my own Dorchester. And since she’s held that spot, I see and hear from Melissa with consistent regularity – because she hasn’t stopped moving forward for one second.
Since her election at last year’s county convention, I quickly learned of the positive work she’s done, like round-the-clock voter registration. I know the many improvements she’s made, like better regularity of party functions that have greater reach throughout Berkeley. I know the consistent outreach she makes, like regularly contributing to projects and functions throughout the region, and not just in her one county alone.
And I know that she’ll continue that blazing path of accomplishment across the state as 2nd Vice.
Another key factor about Melissa that’s always impressed me very much is the selflessness she displays in her party work and duties. She’s not in this for herself or any personal goals, which she holds far down the ladder from her priorities of party accomplishment. She does all this work for everybody – not herself.
“Leadership is another word for servant,” she says in her campaign. “Leaders should serve the people and the party.”
Watson has a very defined platform detailing those selfless goals, too: messaging, effective communication, strategic planning, effective leadership and statewide communication amongst county chairs, too.
Sheila Gallagher is another candidate for 2nd Vice. She’s a fine woman who’s past president of the South Carolina Education Association, and who ran for state house last year in the Florence area she calls home. Gallagher’s been active in social and political ventures for some years.
The remaining candidate is the well-known Carol Fowler, who is currently chair of the state party, and who once held this same 2nd Vice spot some years ago. There are some who hold Fowler responsible for 2010 campaign woes, but do so in error; she applied proper control over every facet that she possibly could.
While I don’t hold Fowler responsible for the problems of the past, and I don’t discredit Gallagher for her active Democratic work, I think it’s time the state party move straight in the direction that every other office’s candidates are seeking – expanding support from new participants by building from the county level up through grassroots campaigning.
I know Melissa J. Watson is the candidate for 2nd Vice Chair who’ll successfully get us in that direction.
And then there’s that final role of 3rd Vice Chair, which I find to be the hardest selection. It’s difficult not just because of the mutual qualifications all share, but also because it’s a little fuzzy over who might actually be in this race. There are three possible candidates, but maybe only two.
Incumbent Jamarr Brown has not officially declared, I understand. He’s not replied to my inquiry; he hasn’t told anyone I know with the state executive committee, either, which I find odd – they’re all delegates, after all, and with whom he has some regular contact. But the Charleston County Democratic Party just listed him on its recent “Meet the Candidates” invitation. He’s accomplished much in his current term and works very well, but based on these factors of undeclared and undecided can I not offer Jamarr any endorsement.
Will Maxey is an officially declared candidate. A native of Loris, he currently resides in Clemson, where attends school. He was an active volunteer in some of last year’s races, and worked with a student Democratic organization at Clemson, too.
Dante "DC" Swinton, from the website of his recent campaign
While those credentials of Will’s are certain assets, there’s another credential I used as the deciding factor for my support of the remaining candidate.
Dante “DC” Swinton didn’t just volunteer with political campaigns, and didn’t just study political topics in school. He was an actual candidate last year in the race for State District 24. Running against an incumbent and well-funded Republican, Swinton pulled in a quarter of the vote, using just a shoestring budget (and plenty of shoe soles, too).
With a fine-tuned platform on the subjects of environment, education and civil rights, Swinton learned the ropes the hard way by running his own campaign, not as a volunteer or trainee.
For one this young to have this much experience makes Dante “DC” Swinton a perfect candidate for 3rd Vice Chair.
Another key point about Swinton is his Greenville home. Of all candidates in all races, only DC is from this particular part of the state (and that one county has an exceptionally large number of delegates, too). Others range from Columbia on down, with three in the northeast area. And even though direct opponent Maxie attends school in the western part of the state, his home is in Horry County.
So take note, upstate Democrats; DC Swinton could be the one chance you have for representation amongst state party officers.
Now, remember folks - these are my personal choices for vice chairs, and which I hope you'll follow, too. But don't forget that we are all on the same team on this. Like I said earlier, we're not choosing from opposing candidates in a bitter contest; we're selecting captains for our team.
Let's continue to operate like a team after this convention, no matter who wins.
Robservations by Rob Groce is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.