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Published: Wednesday, 3/7/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

GOP unit in S.C. asks for pledge of purity


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Republican party in a small, conservative South Carolina county expects their candidates to lower taxes. They also expect them to be faithful to their spouses, not watch porn, and not have sex outside of marriage.

The Laurens County Republican Party originally decided that anyone who wanted to run for office with the GOP's blessing would have to sign a pledge and be approved by party leaders. They backed off that idea after the state party told them it was illegal and the pledge received international attention.

Where the pledge went off the rails was a proposal for a committee to screen potential candidates, which could have kept a candidate from running as a Republican.

"We don't condone that. State law allows anyone on the ballot who meets the qualifications in the law," state GOP executive director Matt Moore said.

Laurens County Republican Party Chairman Bobby Smith got into a public fight with one of the county's chief Republicans last summer, when Sheriff Ricky Chastain admitted to having a two-and-a-half year affair with a subordinate at the sheriff's office. The woman sued him for sexual harassment, accusing the sheriff of driving her to get an abortion in a county-owned car. That lawsuit is pending.

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