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Raymond Alexander Harris
Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party

In office
1968–1971
Preceded by Harry S. Dent, Sr.
Succeeded by C. Kenneth Powell
Personal details
Born February 3, 1927(1927-02-03) (age 93)
Spouse(s) Vi Harris
Residence Darlington, South Carolina
Alma mater Wake Forest University
Occupation Real estate

Raymond Alexander Harris (born February 3, 1927) is the former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party; his tenure extended from 1968 to 1971.[1]

Harris served in the United States Navy in World War II. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950 from Wake Forest University in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Political lifeEdit

From 1965 to 1968, he was the executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party under chairman Harry S. Dent, Sr. As state chairman in 1970, Harris worked unsuccessfully for the election of the conservative U.S. Representative Albert Watson of South Carolina's 2nd congressional district and the advertising executive from Greenville, James M. Henderson, who ran on a ticket for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. This campaign was the last in South Carolina to be fought in part over lingering racial issues. Watson claimed that the media had called him a "racist" because he cited bloc voting by African Americans as central to Democratic election victories in the state. Harris said that Democrat officeholders in South Carolina owed their existence to such bloc voting.[2] Harris attributed Watson's defeat to a low-turnout model. Had 550,000 voted, rather than the actual 482,000, Watson could have won, according to Harris. The South Carolina Republicans did not repudiate black voters, Harris insisted, but had to build a party structure according to philosophy, rather than race.[3]

Harris was a delegate to the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, which narrowly nominated Gerald R. Ford, Jr., over Ronald W. Reagan, the former governor of California. Harris was a member of the Republican National Committee from South Carolina from 1976 to 1980.[4]

In 1974, he was appointed by U.S. President Richard M. Nixon to the National Corporation of Housing Partnerships. In 1984, he was appointed as the Region IV administrator in Atlanta, Georgia, of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development by Secretary Samuel Pierce. He was reappointed in 1989 by then HUD Secretary Jack Kemp.[4]

In 1991, President George Herbert Walker Bush conferred upon Harris the rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service, "For Sustained accomplishments in Managing HUD Programs" in the eight southeastern states, including Puerto Rico.[4]

From 1996 to 2003, Harris was the director of economic development in Darlington County, South Carolina.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Aiken GOP: A History". Aiken County Republican Party. http://www.aikengop.com/gopaiken/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=69. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  2. Billy Hathorn, "The Changing Politics of Race: Congressman Albert William Watson and the South Carolina Republican Party, 1965-1970", South Carolina Historical Magazine Vol. 89 (October 1988), p. 235
  3. "The Changing Politics of Race", p. 239
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Raymond Alexander Harris". Dwight D. Eisenhower Honor Roll. http://www.dwightdeisenhower.com/kiosk/detail.cfm?id=120. 

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