SC politics heat up with Harpootlian, Connelly leading parties

SC Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The gloves are off and both newly-elected political party chairmen for South Carolina have come out swinging.

The Republicans have been in charge of state government for almost a decade, says Dick Harpootlian. We are 50th in education and number three in gonorrhea that is a hell of a record of accomplishment.

Last week, state Democrats elected Dick Harpootlian as their chair.

In the other corner, Chad Connelly was picked to take over for outgoing GOP Chair Karen Floyd. Connelly got the nod over two other candidates on Saturday.

After his win, he told the audience you guys just elected Barack Obama's and Dick Harpootlian's worst nightmare.

There are a lot of folks who want to be on our side and as long as the Democrats are doing things like supporting labor unions, gay marriage, and abortion on demand they are going to have a losing message no matter what we do, Connelly says.

The Newberry County businessman will be in charge of fundraising for the party as it prepares to host the first-in-the-south presidential primary next year.

According to Harpootlian, his role will be to recruit candidates who will be competitive in upcoming races.

The Columbia lawyer served as party chair from 1998 to 2003. During his term, the people of South Carolina elected Democrat Jim Hodges as Governor.

We have let the Republicans take control by default, Harpootlian says. We have not pointed out how awful they are.

Currently, the GOP controls all nine statewide offices, both U.S. Senate seats and five of six U.S. house seats.

We have a consistent, conservative message we are really going to keep pushing out, Connelly adds, and I don't believe we tapped our potential yet.

Democrats hope this fight goes the distance as Republicans want another TKO. Each chairman, however, is planning to pack a punch in his message to voters.

Tell us what you think about this story. Do you think Harpootlian can make a difference for the Democrats? Do you think Connelly can maintain the recent success of the Republican party? Leave us a comment below.