The resolution, passed on May 18, criticizes Wilson for endorsing a Democrat for the state Senate last year, for his voting record and for what it refers to as “verbal attacks” against the Anderson County Republican Party.
The vote, taken by executive committee members representing precincts throughout the county, was approved with only one dissension, according to Anderson County Republican Party secretary Jane Jones.
A vote requires a majority, and about 40 of the county’s precinct committee representatives were present, according to Jones.
The resolution also cites the fact that Wilson motioned to give former county Administrator Joey Preston a $1.14 million severance package 18 days after Wilson’s daughter received a contract with the county for agro-consulting work.
Wilson said that he knew nothing about the contract until afterward, countering that the attack was a political move by his opponents.
The resolution states that although the Anderson County Republican Party can’t prohibit a candidate from running as a Republican, it does “state a non-binding preference that Councilman Ron Wilson no longer identify himself as a Republican either in his current office, or in regard to any office for which he may chose to run in the future.”
Jones said, “I just consider anyone that runs as a Republican to adhere to what a Republican is.”
Wilson has been on council for about two and a half years, beginning his political career in 2007 after defeating former Councilman Bill Dees.
“When Ron Wilson ran against him, he said he would vote for no tax increases,” Jones said, adding that the constituents hoped at the time that Wilson would be more fiscally conservative than Dees.
Wilson countered that the reason they’ve censured him is because he hasn’t been “in lockstep” with everything the Anderson County Republican Party wanted him to do.
“I’m my own man. No one tells me what to do,” he said, adding that the Republican Party has several “very narrow-minded bunch of ideologues” who expect the Republicans to do whatever the Republican Party wants.
Wilson said he wasn’t invited to the meeting or given an opportunity to tell his side of the story.
“The courtesy would have been to hear my side of the story,” he said. “They arbitrarily decided to do this.”
Wilson said he isn’t the only Republican — on a local, state or national level — who has ever approved of a higher tax budget.
“Have they censured Bobby Harrell, who’s speaker of the (state) House, or President Pro Tempore Glen McConnell, or Sen. Hugh Leatherman, who’s head of the finance committee?” he asked. “Are they going to censure George Bush for when he was president?”
Wilson also added that his conservative credentials haven’t changed at all during his tenure on council.
He is strongly pro-life, believes in cracking down on illegal immigration, opposes big government, and is staunchly in favor of second amendment rights, he said.
“There’s no one in the Republican Party that has more conservative credentials than I do,” he said. “I’m as conservative as they come. You name any (conservative) issue, and you’ll find that I support that,” Wilson said.
Wilson said that ultimately what matters is what his constituents think of him, adding that he has won the past two elections.
“The people here seem to be fairly pleased with me,” he said, adding that he has always fought for Powdersville to receive its fair share. Wilson said he endorsed former Democrat state Senate candidate Marshall Meadors because he felt Sen. Kevin Bryant has always ignored Powdersville.
“I would do it again,” he said.
Anderson County Republican Party Chairwoman Liz Holmes said the issue was researched thoroughly before making a final decision.
“We didn’t just make a rash decision,” she said, adding that they formed a committee that would contact both the national and state Republican Party and find out what they could legally do.
“We’re not wanting to destroy him,” Holmes said.
The Anderson County Republican Party feels he hasn’t been fiscally conservative as he should have, and he hasn’t fought for open and accountable government, Holmes said.The vote wasn’t about any one specific issue, she added.
“It was just an overall compilation of things,” she said.
The resolution states:
“WHEREAS Ron Wilson, a member of Anderson County Council, filed for and was twice elected to his current office by majority vote of his district as a Republican, and
WHEREAS Ron Wilson ran and was first elected on a conservative platform which he has long since abandoned, as evidenced by his voting record and by his verbal attacks against the Anderson County Republican Party, and
WHEREAS Ron Wilson, in 2008, not only publicly endorsed the Democrat nominee for South Carolina Senate District Three, but lent his name in endorsement to a mailer which attacked the Republican candidate with deceitful claims against the incumbent senator’s character, and
WHEREAS Ron Wilson has brought a cloud of controversy on his office by rewarding the former county Administrator with a $1.14 million buyout contract, just 18 days after his daughter, Allison Schaum received an open ended contract from the Anderson County Administrator with a 3 year buyout clause, and
WHEREAS South Carolina law prohibits the Anderson County Republican Party from disallowing any candidate from filing as a Republican,
BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Committee of the Anderson County Republican Party does hereby censure Councilman Ron Wilson for his actions in endorsing a Democrat and other controversial actions, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Executive Committee of the Anderson County Republican Party will not financially or rhetorically support Councilman Ron Wilson for any office for which he may chose to run in the future, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Executive Committee of the Anderson County Republican Party does hereby state a nonbinding preference that Councilman Ron Wilson no longer identify himself as a Republican either in his current office, or in regard to any office for which he may chose to run in the future.
The above resolution was adopted on May 18, 2009.”