When she first arrived on the Beaufort County political scene, Beverly Dore got more than a few curious looks when stating her party preference.
"I would attend these functions and I would say that I was involved with the Beaufort County Democratic Party and people would say, 'I didn't even know we had a Democratic Party in Beaufort County,'" Dore, a Lady's Island resident, said
Dore stepped down Saturday as chairwoman of the county's Democratic Party, a job she's held for the last four years.
Blaine Lotz, 66, of Hilton Head Island was voted the party's new chairman on a voice vote during Saturday's convention at Battery Creek High School. Lotz ran for Congress in 2008 but lost in the primary to Rob Miller.
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Reflecting on her time as chairwoman, Dore said she is most proud of raising the profile of the Democratic Party throughout Beaufort County.
"We have been able to increase the visibility of the party and establish a presence in this country," Dore said. "We've also been able to bring a lot of (dormant) Democrats out of the woodwork. From Sea Pines to Sheldon, we've made ourselves known in this community."
Dorewas chosen to join the state's delegation at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 and again in 2008, where she voted to nominate Barack Obama for president.
"It was like climbing the highest mountain," Dore said of attending the convention.
Carol Fowler, chairwoman of the S.C. Democratic Party, credited Dore with helping to strengthen the party in Beaufort County and throughout the Lowcountry.
"County party chairs have a thankless job most of the time but I have always known I could count on Beverly to take on all of the details of her job without worrying about who got the credit," Fowler said. "She has made a real difference for Democratic candidates."
Dore's successor agrees.
"She has worked as hard as anyone I've ever seen work in the game of politics," said Lotz, who will serve a 2-year term as party chairman.