Politics & Government

South Carolina Democrats seek a new image

Often, to be a Democrat in South Carolina is to accept defeat.

Sometimes, defeat is accepted before the race begins.

No Democrats are running in two of the nine statewide June primaries. Democrats failed to find candidates to run for state treasurer or adjutant general.

In today's South Carolina, where Democrats often finish in second place, it's increasingly hard to recall that in 1986, S.C. Democrats held all nine statewide posts.

As S.C. Democrats convened in Columbia Saturday to build enthusiasm for their candidates, some contemplated how the consummate underdog party could turn the tide and create a true two-party state in South Carolina.

Such a shift would be better for all South Carolinians, some Democrats argue.

"You want a vigorous two-party system to encourage gentlemanly debate about issues," said Andy Brack, publisher of statehousereport.com, who unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat in the 2000 1st congressional district race. "The best ideas often come out of the compromise. That's what the framers of the Constitution had in mind."

What's needed, according to Columbia attorney Dick Harpootlian, who served as chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party from 1998 to 2003, is aggressive fundraising and an even more aggressive approach toward the GOP.

"You've got to get up every morning and go at (Republicans)," Harpootlian said. "And you've got to raise money 24 hours a day."

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.