Thursday, March 01, 2007

McCain-Romney South Carolina Surrogate Spat

On the eve of the Spartanburg straw poll, McCain and Romney's South Carolina supporters are apparently bickering with one another. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported yesterday:
Results of the Spartanburg County Republican Party's presidential straw poll are already being questioned, and the vote doesn't take place until Thursday night.

A state veterans organization says county GOP Chairman Rick Beltram is stacking the deck to guarantee a strong showing for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, while textile magnate Roger Milliken fears the outcome could be "rigged" by "candidates who have a lot of money."

Winthrop University political science professor Scott Huffmon says that with the real vote more than 10 months away, this could be the start of things turning ugly early....

Don Byrum, president of the South Carolina Veterans Coalition - a group founded in September 2005, sent out a news release accusing Beltram of trying to wipe out opposition to Romney.

"Mr. Beltram has taken measures to dominate the outcome of the upcoming reorganization and straw poll by stacking the precincts with Beltram operatives - those who wish to enforce the will of Mr. Beltram and to deny access to the polls to those who disagree," Byrum said in the release....

Beltram said Byrum should "immediately enroll in a civics class" to learn state election procedures before "slamming the best group of volunteers in South Carolina."

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