Beltram’s New Gig – The Piedmont Republican Club

October 6, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Beltram has been all but quiet since leaving the GOP, challenging the party leadership and even blasting it at times.  Such as a comment made on his Facebook profile after being presented an award for his long service in the county party at last weeks Bronze Elephant in Spartanburg.

“I rushed home from my sales trip to attend the Bronze Elephant event…..we only had 125 people and the local Dems had 350 at their event.  It is really too bad that we have fallen so far in just 6 months!!!  What has happened????”

As many of you may know, Beltram founded the Piedmont Republican Club immediately (12 days) after the county GOP decided they would unite (~75%) and remove him from his long held position as Spartanburg GOP Chairman.

While doing a little research today on Beltram’s Piedmont Republican Club, I stumbled across a book about Greenville written by Archie Vernon Huff. The book titled “Greenville: the history of the city and county in the South Carolina Piedmont“, even discusses some political discourse that took place in 1976 during Reagan’s rise to national prominence.

A group of individuals from the conservative right became excited and went to work in the Republican Party to help nominate Ronald Reagan.  As a result, the current leadership (1976) was ousted from power.  Those ousted from power, well, they formed the Piedmont Republican Club.

“They withdrew and formed a rival organization, The Piedmont Republican Club and blamed their ouster on the influence of Bob Jones University…until 1980 Greenville County had essentially two Republican parties, and the result was disastrous in local races.”

One has to wonder, is Beltram working to accomplish the same thing in 2010.  Let us know what you think in our poll and in the comments!


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  • Earl Capps

    I’m about to do something that I’ve never done before – say something nice about Rick Beltram.

    I’ve attended his group’s breakfast club meeting, as a guest speaker. Given the issues that him and I have had over the years, it would have been easy for me to say “good riddance” to him, but since he had been talking with me about my GOP breakfast club in Summerville well before his ouster as county Chair, I decided I’d give him the benefit of a doubt.

    As far as I have seen, his breakfast club is open to one and all, so my advice is to go check it out and even make a regular presence. That’s the best way to know if it’s just a group of Republicans hanging out for breakfast or something more.

    But in my years of political experience, I’ve never seen a breakfast club take over a county party. I think the name is coincidental and that Rick is finding a new way to get back into the kind of informative grass-roots organizing that our party needs.

    Sure he’s a bit rough-edged and his facebook comment may not have been the best way to thank the party, but don’t be so quick to judge the guy’s motives.

  • WorkingTommyC

    I’ll say “good riddance!” then!

  • Matt

    Great post! There certainly is some uncanny similarities between the Piedmont Republican Club of 2009 with the one from 1976 (including the fact that Beltram was ousted by a BJU employee).

    A lot of us who have worked for years in the county party with Rick Beltram can afford to be a little quicker to judge his motives. Everyone to a fault that I have talked to about this has pretty much said the same thing: that this breakfast club is basically a way to feed Rick’s massive ego. That’s what a few of us witnessed when we attended one of the meetings.

    Instead of accepting defeat and working within the county party structure that was supposedly such an important part of his life, he’d rather start his own group where he can be the “top dog”. Some people just need to be the center of attention and use a political title to feel so self-important, and it’s pretty clear that’s what Rick is about–just ask around.

    Had the party not honored him wit that award, he would not have even been at the Bronze Elephant…and it’s obvious how appreciative he is from that sorry Facebook comment of his.

  • Earl Capps

    Matt, I’m not disputing what you saw when he was chair. LaDonna and others are good and trusted friends of mine. But if you’re right about the breakfast club being to pump his ego, he’ll find out that – if run decently – it’s far more work than glory.

    If it becomes all about him, it will 1) be an insufficient launching pad for anyone’s ambitions, and 2) the group won’t last long.

    In my GOP breakfast club, Ron, I and the other board members put in a lot of work to put together informative programs and we never really get much attention – but our goal is to promote ideas and Republican candidates, and we do pretty good at it. I’ve worked with Rick to help him get started, and I hope that’s his “new direction”.

    If it’s not, then that’s his loss.

  • Brad Hampton

    I agree with the first poster, there are some similarities between the ouster of leadership in this decade and in the 1970’s-1980’s. Personally, I think the influence in Greenville and Spartanburg politics by BJU is on the way out, because I think people slowly are beginning to realize that true practical Christianity is not even remotely similar to the way BJU wishes it to be done. Not to mention the fact that the new chairman attends a church in Liberty, SC which I am all to familiar with, only because of their ridiculous legalistic approaches to Christianity (my guess is they’re influenced heavily by BJU practices). For example, as recently as a few years ago (I can only speak to this time frame, and they still have the same pastor), it was forbidden for any church member to watch television, forbidden for men to have long hair, forbidden for women to wear pants, and on and on. If you did something they didn’t like (i.e. the leadership of the church), you were “preached to” that Sunday in front of the entire congregation. Anyhow, I’ve been chasing rabbits and getting off topic, but I simply wanted to address the point in the article that mentions BJU influence, and it seems that the new chairman will try to hang on (for BJU) some sort of influence for the party, at least for now. As for Beltram, I never cared for him either, so I’d be all for someone quite different that Ryggs or Beltram in the next chairmanship.