S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley announced Tuesday that a statewide grassroots steering committee will be created, and she has included 11 local Republicans to take part.
The committee, chaired by S.C. Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly, includes 164 co-chairs from all 46 counties across the state.
Aiken, a GOP stronghold, had 11 invitees, including two Aiken city councilmen, the local party chair and many other Haley boosters.
“Gov. Haley has made clear that she will wait until the summer before deciding whether to run for re-election,” said Kurt Pickhardt, Haley’s political director. “However, she has instructed our team to get prepared in the event that she does run, and, today, we are releasing the names of those who have generously agreed to serve on the Haley Grassroots Steering Committee. This amazing group is made up of 164 people from all 46 counties, and we are enormously grateful for this outpouring of support even before our campaign is up and running.”
According to Aiken Republican Party Chair Dennis Saylors, Haley’s office reached out and asked individuals if they would be on the committee.
The full list of those selected in Aiken County to join the grassroots steering committee are Tony Coffaro, former Aiken Republican Club president; City Councilman Dick Dewar; City Councilman Steve Homoki; Zee Homoki, former S.C. ETV commissioner; local Republicans Robert Prendergast, Carol Sue Roberts, KT Ruthven, Bauer Vaughters, Joanne Coffaro, Aiken Republican Party Chair Dennis Saylors and Dee Dee Vaughters, whose unsuccessful run for S.C. Senate was backed by Haley.
Some of those invited described the selection as a simple recognition of support for Haley. Others, as a strategic move by the governor to tie up as many influential local Republicans as early as possible, though all described their inclusion in similar terms.
“I do consider it an honor to serve on the committee,” Saylor said.
“It’s a steering committee, just an advisory committee to come up with ideas for the governor,” said Zee Homoki, whose husband, Steve Homoki, is also on the committee. “We feel she has done a good job.”
The belief that Haley has been a positive force for South Carolina’s economy was echoed by all invited.
“There’s been the hacking case, which was a disappointment, but, other than that, she’s been great. She’s got a sense of fiscal discipline like Mark Sanford,” Dewar said. “I was one of the original group in Aiken who then Rep. Haley met with before she announced she was running for governor. So, I consider myself a long-term supporter.”
“I have no doubt that this great group of men and women will provide an invaluable backbone to our efforts to spread Gov. Haley’s message of jobs, reform and a brighter future for South Carolina,” Pickhardt said.