COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s youngest GOP chairman will be seeking re-election to the party’s top post this year.
Matt Moore, 32, said his interest in moving the S.C. Republican Party into the 21st century is one of many reasons he wants to get re-elected as chairman. He is so far the only candidate who has announced interest in the position.
Moore, a Georgia native, made his way to South Carolina thanks to then-Gov. Mark Sanford, after Moore’s technological savviness caught Sanford’s eye. Moore, who majored in industrial engineering, worked behind the scenes on improving the reach of the party through technology and social media.
“He had technical competence in terms of understanding the interplay with social media and all of its components,” said Sanford, now U.S. representative for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Matt because I think he has a level of gravitas at his age. I’ve seen him with the old and young alike.”
Maybe his ability to get along with the older generation could be attributed to his inclination to seek experienced mentors, such as U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and Moore’s predecessor, Chad Connelly, who resigned from the S.C. GOP chairmanship in 2013 to take a senior role at the Republican National Committee.
It could also be that though Moore is young, he holds conservative values dear. His father worked his way from painter to vice president of a sales company. His mother spent much of his childhood studying to become a teacher in an effort to provide a better life for her children, he said.
“My parents’ American Dream is the American Dream I want to protect and expand,” Moore said. “It’s the belief that you can start anywhere and go anywhere.”
As chairman, Moore said he plans to aim for 100 years of election victories for the Republican Party, by using 21st century technology and focusing on what it’s good at, such as recruiting candidates and giving them the tools they need to get elected.
The party was instrumental in getting state Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, elected, she said. Shealy had a rough campaign when the Supreme Court found an error had been made in her statement of economic interests. The ruling threw Shealy off the ballot, and nearly 200 other candidates who also had the same error.
Shealy returned to the ballot by collecting enough signatures. She also received the endorsement of the Republican Party, an unusual move since she was facing incumbent Republican Jake Knotts. The party and Moore, she said, were looking out for her.
“Matt is a true Republican who does the right thing,” Shealy said. “He understands what the real Republican Party is about. He’s not focused on one thing. He’s focused on the Republican Party as a whole.”
Reach Cynthia Roldan at 708-5891.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Rep. Mark Sanford’s congressional district.