Avery Wilkes made a lot of good points about S.C. Democrats’ efforts to rebuild their brand (“For SC Democrats, rebuilding party ‘is a long process,’ Sept. 19), but their challenge is the changing demographics of new residents to South Carolina.
I am grateful to have lived the Republican revolution and see firsthand the influence of those new residents.
The first local Republican candidates in the 1950s were in Aiken County, where the influx of transplants for the Savannah River Site established the Republican Party. The state’s first modern party chairman was Greg Shorey (formerly of Massachusetts), and the financier was Roger Milliken (formerly of Massachusetts). In my state Senate service, I was joined by two natives of Wisconsin, Warren Giese and Greg Ryberg.
The migration of mid-level executives and retirees who appreciate lower taxes and a moderate climate has been extraordinary, and as a result, every census results in more Republican legislative districts. I am grateful that the fast-growing Republican counties I represent, Lexington and Aiken, are nearly 75 percent transplants. The latest voter registration numbers confirm that the Republican counties are the fastest growing.
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In 1961, Charlie Boineau of Richland and Floyd Spence of Lexington were the first Republican legislators elected in the 20th century; today, Republicans have super majorities in the House and Senate and elect younger candidates.
The S.C. Republican Party was built on the successful principles of limited government and expanded freedom. We welcome everyone to participate.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson