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Charles E. Boineau papers

A growing unease with the liberal platforms of the Democratic Party prompted a young Columbia businessman to announce his party affiliation with the GOP in 1960. Denouncing "socialistic programs" and pledging a "real fight for full-time conservatism," Charles E. Boineau won a special election in August 1961 to the South Carolina General Assembly, becoming the first Republican elected to the House since 1900. His victory attracted national attention as it signaled the emergence of a recognizable two-party system in South Carolina politics. "You did it!" proclaimed U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater in a congratulatory letter to Boineau. "You will go down in history as the first republican to crack the solid ranks of democrats in South Carolina, and some day, whether you know it or not, your victory will mark the turning point in not only the political but the economic direction of your state."

As a member of the House, Boineau championed reform in election laws, served on the Agriculture and Conservation and Labor, Commerce, and Industry committees and defended the conservative party's agenda. In 1962, in conjunction with his own bid for re-election, he worked tirelessly for the campaigns of Bill Workman for U.S. Senate and Floyd Spence for Congress. As a delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco, Boineau wholeheartedly endorsed the presidential campaign of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. After the 1964 convention, Boineau ended his brief political career, but not his support for the Republican Party, and returned to private life.

The collection consists of two and a half linear feet of materials, 1941-1995, chiefly 1961-1964, and more fully documents the emergence of the Republican Party in South Carolina than it does Boineau's brief tenure in the South Carolina House of Representatives. The papers concentrate on Boineau's campaigns and his involvement in local, state, and national Republican politics. His campaign materials primarily consist of correspondence regarding his 1961 victory. Sparse materials document his unsuccessful 1962 and 1964 bids for a House seat. Particularly noteworthy is a folder regarding his 1964 court challenge to South Carolina's full-slate election law. Most of the papers focus on Boineau's association with the Republican party at the national, state, and local levels and reflect his involvement with the 1964 GOP presidential campaign, South Carolina Republicans, and Richland County Republicans. Records documenting Boineau's military career as a naval aviator during World War II and service in the naval reserves complete the collection.

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