On Halloween night 1964, I was eight-years-old when my mother and I drove to the downtown auditorium in South Carolina's capital city of Columbia to hear Ronald Reagan stump for Republican presidential nominee Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona.
Forty-four years have passed since then, but voters in South Carolina still respond to candidates who run on the conservative reform platform that has been the foundation of Republican success.
This year, we are proud to have another Republican from Arizona carrying our conservative banner - John McCain.
As I've travelled across South Carolina campaigning for Republican candidates, I have met activists and supporters who know John McCain very well.
He joined other Republican presidential candidates who spent time with us in our homes, businesses and communities during presidential primary talking about the issues most important to voters in this election.
John McCain won our 2008 First-in-the-South Republican Presidential Primary in South Carolina on January 19, 2008, which catapulted him to the Republican nomination for president.
Now, we're less than a day away from the most important election of my lifetime.
Voters in South Carolina have the chance to elect a man we know well to be the next president.
Katon Dawson - 'I'm a small businessman and father of two'
For this reason, thousands of Republicans are volunteering across the state. They are making phone calls, knocking on doors and putting out yard signs because the stakes couldn't be higher.
Unprecedented voter turn out is expected in South Carolina.
During this final push before Election Day, excitement about the Republican ticket here has reached fever pitch.
From Summerville to Spartanburg, voters in our state strongly support John McCain and Sarah Palin because they are two leaders who have been guided during this campaign by the principles of our party - limited government, lower taxes, energy independence, a strong national defence and traditional values.
John McCain has made the case for why we must elect him to be the next president.
I'm a small businessman and father of two and I can tell you that hardworking American families are overtaxed and businesses over-regulated.
In addition to cumbersome taxes and regulations, rising fuel costs are making it increasingly difficult to do business in America.
John McCain is the only candidate in this election with the judgment and experience to lead when people on Main Street are struggling.
John McCain is a common-sense coalition builder.
He will work hard with Democrats and Republicans to jumpstart the economy. John McCain will also cut taxes, rein in government spending and create a business climate that will create jobs.
The choice couldn't be clearer. In this 'change' election, John McCain and Sarah Palin will end gridlock and change the way business is done in Washington.
I am more confident than ever that we will deliver eight electoral votes to John McCain on Tuesday.
I look forward to working hard with activists and supporters in South Carolina on election day to turn out every vote we can for the Republican ticket.
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