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Candidate John Warren wants Republican reform at Statehouse

John Warren, Aiken Republican Club

John Warren, a Republican candidate for South Carolina governor, spoke to the Aiken Republican Club on Tuesday afternoon.

Once he's elected South Carolina's governor, Republican candidate John Warren promises he'll muscle, one way or another, faux Republicans and conservative opposition out of elected Statehouse positions.

"What I will do is I will systematically target every state rep and every state senator who does not want to go along with the conservative reform agenda. I will recruit quality candidates to run against them," Warren said at the Aiken Republican Club's monthly luncheon on Tuesday. "I will help them get financing, and I will campaign with them, and that way we will change the entire makeup of the Legislature."

Warren said doing exactly that – a Statehouse sweep of sorts – will make enacting "real change" easier.

In a followup interview, conducted after his 45-minute meet-and-greet and speech, Warren attributed the state's problems – lackluster education, for example, he said – to a hollowing of conservative support.

Warren, a Greenville businessman and Marine veteran, said being a conservative boils down to three things: supporting limited government, taking individual responsibility and voting for fellow conservatives.

"Right now, we ultimately have three parties operating in the Statehouse. We have Democrats, Republicans and conservatives," he said, "and too many people are running as Republicans who are not conservative. They align more with the Democratic platform."

Warren said he is not necessarily concerned with Democratic competition come election time, going as far as specifically saying he'll beat James Smith – a current state representative and gubernatorial candidate – or "whoever" else the Democrats elect.

"The biggest threat," Warren said, is having "wolves in sheep's clothing on the Republican side."

Betrayal of Republican values, he continued, is more common than one would think.

"It's not just crossing the aisle. They sell us out on every issue," Warren said.

During his speech, Warren said the products of the Legislature's work is the "antithesis" of South Carolina, a state he said is made great by its people.

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