The case for Katon
We hate using this photo (wink, wink…nudge, nudge)
We were in the audience the night of the Republican Party’s Inaugural Gala when Governor Mark Sanford, who forgot his tux (FYI), dubbed Katon Dawson the best Party Chairman in the nation. We thought is was rather odd of the Governor to say, and we are making no value judgements when we say we think that was a little overblown. Never the less, it had its intended result and the path for Chairman Dawson’s re-election was cleared.
We had some grumblings about Chairman Dawson’s reversal on his campaign pledge of term limits and we always think competition is good for elective offices, but Katon can make a case and a strong one at that.
When he took-over the Party, there was major debt. Katon did an outstanding job erasing that debt as his first priority. Thankfully President Bush was a freakin’ rock star back then and helped raise money, but it is still a notch on the belt for Katon. He scored major victories by helping to propel a Republican back into the Governor’s Mansion, preserve Strom Thurmond’s seat and make gains in the legislature. Critics would argue that the candidates and their campaign should get credit, but 2002 was the first year that the heralded, and extensive, Victory operation (72 hour program) was put in place all over the nation. We were very closely involved and can attest to the efforts put in to that program.
In 2004 he helped secure the GOP’s dominance on the federal level with the election of Senator Jim DeMint to replace the outspoken southern icon, Fritz Hollings. Finally, while the Repubs around the nation were getting their butts handed to them in 2006, he oversaw the re-election of the Governor, lost only one seat in the state House, and captured one of the two remaining constitutional offices not in the Party’s hands.
Most recently, the Party has begun to rebuff offers from Democrats to switch allegences and instead have been recruiting challengers, which clearly demonstrates strength going forward. All the while the Party has been in the black, and has maintained a relatively stable presence in the public eye.
Looking to the future, Katon has signaled that he will aggressively protect South Carolina’s place of prominence in the Presidential Primaries and is making plans for a hugely important, though way too early, debate in partnership with USC.
The best in the nation? Eh, we don’t know many Chairmen, but we doubt it.
Deserving of the full support of the SCGOP and their vote of confidence?