By Carlos Galarza-Veve
The (SENECA) Journal
SENECA — A young attorney from Spartanburg who recently announced his plans to challenge the District 4 seat held by popular Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy showed up to speak at the Oconee Democratic Party Convention over the weekend, thereby dispelling the notion Democrats are hurting for new blood.
Spartanburg attorney Chris Fedalei talks politics during his visit to the Oconee Democratic Party Convention on Saturday at the Gignilliat Community Center. (Special to The Journal)
A graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, 26-year-old Chris Fedalei is going around telling Upstate Democrats he can win in this reddest of red states against an incumbent Republican.
Fedalei joined West-Oak political organizer Jon Franklin and Clemson University senior Justin Smith in discussing the future of the Democratic Party and emphasizing the importance of encouraging young people to get involved in political action during the Oconee Democratic Party Convention on Saturday at the Gignilliat Community Center.
After the event, Fedalei spoke to anyone who came up to him behind a table with his campaign literature that promotes his official website — votefedalei.com.
When it comes to statewide elections, Fedalei argues that Democrats are competitive in South Carolina. Fedalei said he can win his race against Gowdy given what many are referring to as the Trump factor this election year. Fedalei is not counting himself out, or any other Democratic Party candidate who is doing battle in predominantly Republican-controlled terrain.
“I’ve talked to a lot of my Republican friends, those who are a little bit more moderate,” Fedalei told The Journal. “They’re just as disgusted I think with what Trump says at his rallies as I am. I know that many of them have never voted for a Democrat before and really hate the idea of doing so, but they know it’s more important than allowing that man to become the most powerful person on Earth.”
As for his likely rival, Fedalei said he thinks Gowdy is vulnerable because of his exposure as chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
“When he said ‘yes’ to chairing that committee, that’s when I became deeply disappointed in our representative,” Fedalei said. “It’s either he didn’t know any better, which is a problem, or he chose to kind of favor this national political game the Republicans are playing over serving his constituents. That’s what my whole message is about — it’s about restoring the idea of service to this office and focusing on issues that affect people day to day.”
At the meeting, Oconee Democrats elected their officers, who will guide the party over the next two years. They are: chair, Paulette Keffas-Chassin; co-second vice chairs, Gail Johnson and Bruce Marsh; third vice chair, Derek Lampe; secretary, Marcia Scott; treasurer, Todd Moore; state executive committeewoman, Ruth May; alternate state executive committeewoman, Linda Holt; state executive committeeman, Mike Evatt; and alternate state executive committeeman, Ken Marsh.