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Primary prestige not worth the cost

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By The Staff

We want to weigh in on the Presidential Preference Primaries in South Carolina. We could talk about how holding these primaries put us on the national stage, perhaps again helped the Republican Party pick its nominee, helped clarify the Democratic field, perhaps picked a president.

We could talk about how fun it was for all those other towns to have candidates pass through, how cool it was to see three, four major debates held here.

All that is important.

But there's really only one significant question to answer. Is there any cure for the disease that afflicted the S.C. General Assembly when it decided to give the state's two political parties the gift of millions of our tax dollars.

The so-called prestige we got for being the first in the South primaries wasn't worth the actual cost of holding them.

We are so used to being in one-party counties in this state, used to many local elections being decided in primaries, that many don't realize what happened the past two Saturdays wasn't at all necessary or required.

Instead it was members of the two biggest political parties using the state's polls to pick a person who will be the candidate for the election in November. It was a private organization doing membership work.

Should the state pick up the tab, in millions of dollars, to send the top 20 to 30 Boy Scouts from each county to Philmont to pick the Boy Scout of the Year? No.

So why did we hold them? Because the legislature is made up of members of both parties. They served their interests, spending millions of your dollars to do it, on the state level.

They forced local election commissions across the state to spend money on the local level.

This unnecessary spending was compounded by decisions of the leadership of both parties.

The state budgeted enough money to give the gift-wrapped present of a statewide primary, but both parties, in a phenomenal bout of arrogance, decided to hold their presidential primaries on different days.

All around the state, local election commissions were forced to hold two primaries, even though they were just given enough for one.

The state and the county election staff are entirely capable and can run any primary a political party wants.

Just charge the parties for it. Make a profit on it and for once get one state agency ahead of the game.

Editor's note: Chester News & Reporter is a sister paper of The Lancaster News. Landmark Community Newspapers Inc. owns both newspapers.