Trey Walker, member of our community, pictured with Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain.

When the main stream media beats you to a story, you know you’re asleep at the wheel! My apologies to Trey for not writing this sooner but tonight I wanted to be sure our community read the article that appeared earlier this week in The State.

I’ve known Trey Walker for years and he’s always been a great guy to me. When I ran against his friend in 2004, he always handled himself in a first-class manner and we never had any cross conversations during the entire campaign. That told me alot about Trey and it’s one of many reasons why this year’s Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, has selected Trey several times to help him with this important election.

Trey’s wife Alison (Ali) is also very involved in politics – especially local causes . Like they say, behind (or rather, next to) every good man, is a good woman!

For our sake (and Ali’s), I hope we get Trey back in our community after November. Who knows though? He may be bound for Washington!

From The State, 9/1/2008


By John O’Connor

After helping U.S. Sen. John McCain win the S.C. primary and the GOP nomination, Trey Walker now is heading the Republican’s fall operations in a must-win swing state.

Walker, a 41-year-old Irmo native, is one of a handful of South Carolinians heavily involved in McCain’s campaign.

In May, McCain tapped Walker to head his Mid-Atlantic campaign — Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia and, possibly most important, Virginia.

Virginia is critical to McCain’s presidential hopes. The Republican presidential candidate has not lost the state since 1964. And if McCain loses it in November, it could doom his chances of becoming president.

That is why Walker and the rest of McCain’s Mid-Atlantic staff are leaving as little to chance as possible.

Using techniques perfected in George W. Bush’s two presidential wins, McCain’s Virginia team is digging deep into voter data to target those likely to vote for their candidate.

In particular, Walker and other McCain staffers are preparing for the critical 72 hours leading up the Nov. 4 election. They are organizing teams to get voters to the polls and ensuring workers are ready to check poll lists to make sure McCain’s voters have, indeed, turned out.

Virginia in many ways is similar to South Carolina. It is Southern and has a large military population and rural areas.

But the Old Dominion’s urban and suburban areas — surrounding Washington, D.C., Richmond and Norfolk — require a national-style, television-based campaign, not the retail politics that S.C. voters prefer, campaign staffers say.

Walker equates the differences to a jump from baseball’s Single A minor league to the major leagues.

“Virginia has now joined the ranks of the Ohios and the Floridas,” said Walker, referring to the two states that decided the 2004 and 2000 presidential elections, respectively. “It is different because there is a level of intensity and organization involved” that does not occur in S.C. primaries.

But Virginia’s changing demographics make it a more daunting challenge than Ohio or Florida, Walker said. “In many ways, in those states (Ohio and Florida), every four years you just add water.”

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, an expert on Southern politics, said Virginia really is no longer a Southern state.

Instead, Sabato said, the presidential campaign in Virginia will be “much more nationally based and attuned to the swing, independent voters in the suburbs.”


In Virginia, Walker is trying to do what he has been doing since 2000, building a campaign team for McCain.

That year, Bush derailed McCain’s presidential hopes — and Walker’s efforts — by winning the S.C. primary.

Walker, a former executive director of the S.C. GOP, went on to lead State House campaigns in 2000 and 2002 and twice helped S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster win election.

To win South Carolina this year, Walker repeatedly advised that McCain had to become Bush.

That meant lining up a network of elected officials and party activists to support McCain in the Palmetto State primary. Maverick McCain also became mainstream to appeal to S.C. voters.

After McCain’s S.C. triumph, Walker also worked primary elections for the Arizona Republican in Florida, Georgia and Virginia.

“Trey’s great strength is organization. That’s the key to winning a state like Virginia,” said Christian Ferry, McCain’s deputy campaign manager. “Trey’s been a part of John McCain’s team as long as anyone. … A guy with Trey’s knowledge, you could pick him from any state and pop him in a new territory and he’d be up to speed in no time.”

McMaster agrees, praising Walker’s ability to pinpoint a political issue long before it becomes dinner-table conversation.

“He has the quickest political mind and perceptions of anyone I know,” said McMaster, a likely Republican candidate for governor in 2010. “He can sense a shift or development or issue over the hill.”

Having spent the last two years on the road, Walker said the decision to leave his family in Columbia to head up McCain’s regional campaign was difficult.

Walker said he and his wife, Alison, prayed about the temporary move. “She feels like she’s done her part as much as I have.”

Walker concluded that electing McCain is critical to the country’s future.

“The stakes are high,” he said. “I had to finish the job. I jumped at it.

“It was the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Reach O’Connor at (803) 771-8358.