Just a few months ago, South Carolina Republicans were desperate to find the estimated $680,000 necessary to cover their share of the tab for the upcoming presidential primary. So desperate, in fact, that SCGOP officials seriously considered letting comedian Stephen Colbert sponsor the event. After that “plan” unraveled, state Republicans finally found a solution that lets them off the hook — just pass off most of the costs to the taxpayers!
On Monday, party leaders told the state a November ruling by the state Supreme Court allows the SCGOP to break its promise to pay its share of the primary costs, according to The State’s Gina Smith. Instead of the $680,000 they promised, South Carolina Republicans will only contribute $180,000 — which isn’t even the state party’s own money, but a collection of the nine candidates’ $20,000 filing fees.
None of this should come as a surprise, since the court’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by counties who were worried the SCGOP would do exactly what it ended up doing — add an extra half-million to the taxpayer bill, despite the fact that the state was already paying for over half of the primary costs from the beginning.
Of course, no one is suggesting state Republicans shouldn’t be allowed to hold a primary, particularly given the importance of South Carolina’s first-in-the-south status and reputation for picking the eventual nominee. It would just be nice to see some consistency when a party denounces “wasteful” government spending as one of its primary values, but turns to the state for a bailout when taxpayer money is being used to elevate their national status.