VIDEO: SC GOP - In their own words

May 24, 2014 

(Clockwise from top left) Gale and Christian Erekson, Grace Kerl

(Clockwise from top left) Gale and Christian Erekson, Grace Kerley, Ted McGee, Kevin Thomas, Kerry Brown, Stephen Gilchrist

Republican voters casting ballots in the June 10 primary will decide whether U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham or one of his six challengers will win their party’s nomination. A look at some of the differing faces of the GOP and the values that drive their politics:

‘Government is too big’

“Government is too big, and the runaway deficits have got to be dealt with at some point. I’ve got a 2-year-old granddaughter and I’m scared to death for her. ... You can’t grow your business when you have all these things you have to worry about that have nothing to do with getting a product out the front door.”

Kerry Brown, 66, of Lexington, partner with the Brittingham Group accounting firm


‘It’s about helping America’

“A lot of my family members that aren’t Republicans, they haven’t seen the world, and they haven’t been able to relate to the different situations that are going on in the world. ... That holds a lot of people back because they believe in the old ways and no change. ... I don’t think the Republican Party is that way. They’re for everybody. ... It’s not a matter of being Republican, or Democrat or independent. It’s about helping America.”

Gale Erekson, 55, of Columbia. U.S. Army veteran


‘The African-American community has ... locked into one way of utilizing its politics’

“The African-American community has found itself locked into one way of utilizing its politics. ... We have to really reconsider whether or not we need to be in anybody’s party at this point and begin to rethink where we fit and where our values are. And wherever those values lie is where we should focus our politics.”

Stephen Gilchrist, 42, of Columbia, chairman of the S.C. African American Chamber of Commerce, owner of a distribution business


‘We’re the party of responsibility’

“The decisions that impact you the most in your life should be ... made by you, whether that’s your health care, how you want your business to be run, or where you want your children to be educated. Those are things that I don’t think should be mandated by the government. ... I believe in personal freedom and responsibility. ... And because we’re the party of responsibility, I think we’re also kind of the party of empowering people.”

Grace Kerley, 19, of Anderson, president of the University of South Carolina College Republicans


‘The whole thing of the Christian community’

“I believe that we can change lives by helping people versus just giving them a free ride. ... That’s the whole thing of the Christian community – we should be helping people get up out of poverty rather than keeping them in poverty by just saying, ‘Don’t work. Don’t learn. We’re just going to feed you.’ ”

Ted McGee, 74, of West Columbia, founder of McGee Real Estate, board founder of S.C. Christian Chamber of Commerce, board member of Christ Central Ministries


‘More of a conservative than a Republican’

“If you look at the S.C. Republican Party ... we’re for lower taxes, we’re for less regulation. ... The traditional role of marriage is another thing that is very important to me as well as the rights of the unborn. ... Those things really resonate to me and make me more of a conservative than a Republican but still obviously fall under that Republican platform that more elected officials need to follow if they’re going to be Republicans.”

Kevin Thomas, 40, of Ridgeway, medical salesman and chairman of the Fairfield County GOP

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