LAURENS, S.C. (The Blaze/AP) -- A county Republican group in South Carolina wants its candidates to promise to not cheat on their spouses and not watch pornography. But the state GOP is distancing itself from the measure and saying it would be illegal to keep candidates off the ballot only because they refuse to sign the pledge. GreenvilleOnline.com has more regarding the state Republican party's response to the measure:
The pledge was adopted by the Laurens party’s executive committee last week, but state GOP executive director Matt Moore said Monday the resolution would be illegal if otherwise qualified candidates would be left off the ballot for not signing a pledge. “The state GOP does not condone the Laurens County resolution,” Moore told GreenvilleOnline.com. “County parties are autonomous and can support Republican candidates in any way they choose,” Moore said. “However, they can’t prevent a candidate from filing as a Republican if the candidate meets the state’s qualifications. We don’t support any resolutions by counties that violate state law.”
Watch MSNBC's Ed Schultz discuss this "ultimate litmus test" on "The Ed Show":
Bobby Smith, the chairman of the Laurens County Republicans, says the "purity pledge" endorsed by the group is meant to encourage good values in the party's candidates. He says it won't prevent anyone from getting on the ballot. "The intent of the Executive Committee was to pass a resolution that would seek to protect the party’s reputation by holding candidates accountable to the platform and its principles," Smith explained. "The county party reserves the right to vet its candidates and will encourage all candidates to uphold the principles of the party’s platform, as well as petition candidates to sign a pledge to do so." The pledge would require candidates to promise they have not had premarital sex and will protect gun rights and oppose abortion, among other things. Many of these elements are rooted in a social conservative ideology -- or in a faith-based mentality. This, of course, creates questions regarding how strictly candidates should be forced to embrace such specific values.