White Plain resident Dave Ballard is running as a Constitution Party candidate in his effort to try to unseat Cooper, who has been on the state House of Representatives since 1990.
Ballard says he doesn’t have anything against Cooper personally, but is tired of the Republican Party.
“My philosophy of government versus the Republican Party’s philosophy of government has continued to grow further apart,” he says. “It’s not so much him personally or his record but more in general with a difference in party philosophy and what it really means to uphold Constitutional government.”
Cooper describes himself as a conservative, but not a libertarian. Although Cooper’s father, Dolly Cooper, served in the state House of Representatives as a Democrat, Dan Cooper says he was one of the first Republicans in Anderson County.
Cooper has pointed out repeatedly that he and the legislature have slashed expenses to the state’s operating budget. Two years ago, the state was working with an approximately $7 billion budget. Since then, it has dropped to about $5. State agencies have laid off employees, and even school districts have reduced personnel or furloughed employees.
But Ballard says that over the past several years the state budget has still grown faster than the state’s per capita income.
“They (Republicans) claim to believe in limited government, but they really are just moving at a slower pace than the Democratic Party toward the same end,” Ballard says.
Ballard says he has mixed feelings about the recent Tea Party meetings.
“It’s a great thing, because it’s got people talking about the Constitution again,” he said. “(But) I’m concerned — especially here in the Upstate — there have been talks between some of the so-called leaders of the Tea Party and the Republican Party. And although there is overlap there, I do not believe that the rank and file person who goes to the Tea Party meetings believes that there should be any coordination. … The Republicans don’t understand that the average Tea Party person is not only upset with the Obama administration and the direction of Democrats. They’re also upset with the direction of the Republicans. They just don’t get it.”
Ballard said he preferred Joshua Putnam over Cooper during the June Republican primary. Putnam, a North Greenville University student, opposed Cooper in the Republican primary. Cooper defeated Putnam, but not by much, taking 51.2 percent of the vote, taking only 131 votes more.