Candidate asked to leave GOP meeting

By: Scott Witten - Editor
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LAURINBURG — Russell Walker, the Republican nominee to represent Scotland County in the state House, said his fellow GOP members ejected him from a gathering in Laurinburg this week.

Walker, who won the Republican primary for the District 48 seat in May, said he was asked to leave a Scotland Republican Party meeting after he accused county Chairman Mark Schenck of being “a liar.”

“I came to the meeting with the intention of calling Mark Schenck a phony and a liar,” Walker said. “The people there did not like what I had to say and asked me to leave and I did.”

Walker said he had been bothered that he tried unsuccessfully to contact Schenck over the Memorial Day weekend.

“I called Mark Schenck about 20 times and didn’t get an answer,” said Walker, who lives in Aberdeen. “I’m about 25 miles away so I went to his house and he started lying.”

Walker believes that the party chairman supported his opponent, John W. Imbaratto of Laurinburg, in the primary and does not care for Walker’s brand of Republicanism.

If elected, Walker said he would stop the war on drugs; end grants or incentives for economic development; stop police killings of innocent civilians; end compulsory auto insurance; deport all illegal aliens; and establish English as the state government language.

“I guess he doesn’t like my beliefs,” Walker said.“But that’s OK. I think he is a mole for the Democratic Party.”

Schenck confirmed that Walker was asked to leave Monday’s meeting. The chairman declined to comment on the incident and said that he planned to alert state party officials about Walker’s behavior.

“It is unfortunate,” Schenck said. “I don’t think we do enough due diligence on all our candidates. We spend more time investigating a flat screen television than our political leaders.”

Walker got 824 votes in the district in the Republican primary while Imbaratto got 447 votes. In Scotland County, Walker received 444 votes and Imbaratto got 286 votes.

Walker, a retired chemical engineer, said he is unconcerned if anyone was upset by what he said, adding that the local Republican group is “nothing more than a social club.” As an example, he said one woman spoke during the meeting for almost an hour when “it should have taken her five minutes.”

“I’m not a politician and at my age this will probably be the last time I run for anything,” he said. “Scotland County is in deep, deep trouble. Something needs to be done.

“The local party is a waste of time until they get some new leadership.”

Walker will try to unseat state Rep. Garland Pierce of Wagram in November. Pierce, a Democrat, has served in the state House for 14 years.

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Scott Witten

Editor