On Thursday evening, October 6, a predominantly Republican crowd filled the Summerville Country Club Candlelight Pavilion to hear Dorchester County GOP Chairman Steven Wright debate South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson on issues likely to influence voters in the upcoming November 8 election.

Moderators for the debate were Abby Barnett, a junior at Charleston Southern University, studying political science, and Nick Reagan, a reporter with Live 5 News.

In days leading up to the debate both chairmen were asked about their goals for the debate. Both officials indicated they wanted to offer a clear contrast between the visions of their respective parties.

Wright identified major issues as abortion, defunding police, student debt, inflation and world-stage events related to Russia, the Taliban and the southern border. The GOP Chairman, who is the youngest person to hold that office, indicated that he was motivated to have a debate by what he called “shots” taken by Democrats at Dorchester Council Member Harriet Holman, who switched parties and ran as a Republican in her last election. Wright expressed pride that every elected official representing Dorchester County who resides in Dorchester County is a Republican. “We need to ask what kind of country are we handing the next generation.”

“This debate provides an opportunity to clearly demonstrate the differences between a Republican Party that focuses on the past without a vision towards the future and the Democratic Party that displays a vision of the future while focusing on creating an economy and quality of life that works for every person,” said Robertson. He criticized the Republican Party for not believing in infrastructure or healthcare, adding that Democrats have passed legislation dealing with both issues. “Most importantly, it is an opportunity to disagree without being disagreeable and to talk about the constant attack on the freedom of women by the modern day Republican Party.”

During the course of the evening, the debate moderators would put forth 10 questions covering five topics. Moderator Nick Reagan greeted the crowd, explained the time limits and asked attendees to be respectful throughout the debate and keep rounds of applause and outbursts to a minimum. This request was challenged numerous times during the event.

In opening remarks, Robertson shared that he had been chastised by some Democrats for agreeing to come into a hotbed of Republican voters only to give the GOP Chairman a platform to say he is running for the state party chair position. “They will beat you like a drum and make you look like a fool,” Robertson joked. “But there’s one important caveat: it’s extremely important for our people to see two people who are diametrically opposed to each other come together in civil discourse.”

Robertson characterized Republicans as wanting to nationalize every issue and take attention away from the assault on the freedom of women and “horrible rankings,” citing South Carolina public education as 44th; healthcare as 34th; infrastructure as 38th and fiscal stability as 31st in the nation. He added that South Carolina has one of the highest, if not the highest, crime rates in America, with N. Charleston leading the way. “Those are not my facts,” said Robertson.

Wright began his comments by thanking the Summerville Country Club for hosting the event and then wondered aloud how Dorchester County had gotten to the point of Harriet Holman switching parties. He stated that the Democratic Party has lost its way and America is in a crisis with families suffering, full-blown inflation and high gas prices. “Joe Biden has done this in less than two years,” said Wright. He cautioned the crowd that this election is not just about November. “If Democrats have their way, they will turn South Carolina into California. We are blessed with Governor McMaster. On the opposite, we have a Democratic Party that wants to abolish 2nd Amendment Rights and perform gender-changing surgery on four-year-olds — not what we want for South Carolina.”