The Michele Bachmann presidential campaign announced an expanded roster of South Carolina supporters on Wednesday, touting strong support from the Tea Party across the state.
The Minnesota congresswoman's initial list of 37 state campaign leaders, announced last month, included only one Lowcountry resident, an attorney from Hilton Head. The rest hailed from the Midlands or Upstate, with a sizable contingent in Spartanburg. Of the 19 new members of Bachmann's S.C. Tea Party Coalition announced Wednesday, seven are from the Lowcountry.
Steve Rapchick, owner of All American Awards in Mt. Pleasant, signed on to the Bachmann campaign a few weeks ago. "Honestly, I don't trust the frontrunners, and I believe in smaller government," he says. Rapchick is president of Mt. Pleasant 9/12, a citizens' group based on a list of tenets propagated by conservative commentator Glenn Beck. He says 9/12 does not endorse candidates, and he has never been involved with a presidential campaign before.
Rapchick says Bachmann won his support by taking consistent stands on conservative issues and leading the Tea Party Caucus. He says he agrees with Ron Paul on many points, but he disagrees with Paul's anti-intervention stance on the Middle East, particularly when it comes to Israel and Palestine.
"I've gotta live by my faith, and the Bible says those people that ignore Israel do so at their own peril," Rapchick says. "I can't separate my religious beliefs from my political beliefs."
The other Lowcountry Bachmann supporters are Jeff Diemier (Mt. Pleasant), Robert Fry (James Island), Lynda Fry (James Island), Harold Blitch (Charleston), Shelia Morgan (Hilton Head), and Tom Morgan (Hilton Head).
A poll of South Carolina GOP voters released Dec. 6 by Winthrop University showed the following results:
• Newt Gingrich: 38.4 percent
• Mitt Romney: 21.5 percent
• Rick Perry: 9 percent
• Herman Cain: 6.6 percent (Cain has since suspended his campaign)
• Michele Bachmann: 5.4 percent
• Ron Paul: 4.1 percent
• Rick Santorum: 3.1 percent
• Jon Huntsman: 1.4 percent