Katon Dawson, former Chairman of the SC Republican Party will address the club on Monday, November 30, 2015.
Mr. Dawson was first elected Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party in 2002, was unanimously re-elected twice, and served on the Republican National Committee from 2002-2009.
Dubbed “a tough-as-nails southern warrior” by Washington Times Columnist Donald Lambro, Dawson turned the South Carolina Republican Party’s financial deficit into a large surplus with aggressive fundraising and sound fiscal management.
Historic electoral success was the hallmark of Dawson’s tenure at the helm of the South Carolina Republican Party. During the four election cycles Dawson was State Chairman,
Republicans won nearly 80% of the elections in which they fielded a candidate. Under Dawson’s leadership, the South Carolina Republican Party gained a U.S. Senate seat, defeated a Democrat Governor, and picked up two statewide constitutional offices. Republicans also increased the number of seats the party holds in both chambers of the South Carolina General Assembly. Dawson served as President of the Electoral College 2004 and 2008.
Dawson was chairman of the State Party intensively involved in Senator Lindsey Graham’s 1st election to the U.S. Senate when Democratic Senatorial Committee spent millions trying to defeat Graham and Dawson served as chairman for Senator Graham’s re-elect in 2008. He was also chairman during Senator Jim DeMint’s first campaign when the Democrats spent millions to defeat him.
In 2010, Dawson played a leading role in recruiting Tim Scott, the first African-American elected to Congress in S.C. since reconstruction. Dawson served as Sr. Political Advisor and was a member of the Finance Team for Governor Nikki Haley’s campaign and served as co-chairman of Haley’s inaugural committee in which $800,000 was raised. He also inaugurated 9 Republican statewide office holders. In addition, he served on the 2011 transition teams for newly elected officials: Lt. Gov. Ken Ard, Congressman Tim Scott, Congressman Jeff Duncan, Adj. General Bob Livingston and Superintendent of Education Mick Zais.
Dawson has earned extensive coverage by local, statewide and national press. Dawson was the only State Republican Party Chairman in the country to host two live, nationally-televised FOX News Republican presidential candidates’ debates during the 2008 presidential primary season. Dawson has appeared on FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, National Public Radio and Dan Rather Reports. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, TIME, Newsweek, Washington Times and U.S. News and World Report. He is currently a regular MSNBC guest for political commentary. He does live shows in NY once per month along with CNN and FoxNews.
Dawson’s clients include: Iq-ity Corp. (an online Educational Corp.); S.C. Electric Co-ops. (Energy companies); Centene Corp. (a Health-Care fortune 500 company); Myrtle Beach Chamber Of Commerce; served as 2011 Senior Political adviser to Presidential Candidates–Newt Gingrich and Governor Rick Perry; and served as 2012 Senior Political Adviser to Super PAC Winning Our Future. Currently, Dawson is Chairman of the West Main Street Values Fund and West Main Street Values PAC formed to support the re-election of Senator Lindsey Graham.
Dawson is President of Dawson Public Affairs, a full service consulting, public policy, political campaign and corporate issues firm. He is married and they have two adult children – Anna and Katon, Jr. Dawson graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1979 with a Bachelors of Science in Management. He is an active member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Dawson was elected by the SC General Assembly in 2013 to serve on the Board of Trustees of SC State University.