(Conway, SC) – On March 26, 2012, I posted an article about filing for political candidacy in South Carolina. At the time, I was fortunate enough to interview several individuals that were filing at the Horry County Republican Party headquarters in Conway, SC on the opening day of filing which was Fri., March 16, 2012. One of those individuals was an incumbent; he’d held the office he was running for in the previous term. The others were new to the state political scene, although they had held offices in college and such.
One of those new candidates has since been pulled from the ballot because he doesn’t currently reside in the district for which he was running. Granted, that seems like a mistake that should not be made, but the South Carolina legislature spent this past year re-districting the entire state. In fact, South Carolina has an additional United States House of Representatives District seat this year. There are 13 candidates running for that seat alone – nine Republicans and four Democrats.
Of the 46 candidates that filed by the March 30 deadline in Horry County, however, 17 were pulled from the ballot this past Friday, May 4, by a South Carolina Supreme Court decision made earlier in the week. That court decision stated that a candidate needed to file a paper copy of his/her EIS or economic interest statement at the same time he/she filed to run for office.
The EIS lets voters know if a candidate has an economic interest in any public monies. Most incumbents had filed this form in a previous year. And, in fact, many new filers had already submitted this form electronically before filing the papers to run for office. If a computer was available at the place of filing, whether or not the EIS had been filed electronically could have been verified if the need arose.
According to Adam Beam from heraldonline.com, “The suit was brought by two men from Lexington County, one of whom – Robert Barger – was paid $500 to do campaign work for Sen. Jake Knotts, an incumbent who was facing a tough primary election but is now unopposed because his opponent has been removed as a result of the ruling. Barger and Knotts have denied conspiring to throw Knotts’ opposition off the ballot.”
Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party of South Carolina have called an emergency meeting with the South Carolina legislature to review the Supreme Court’s decision to somehow get their candidates back on the ballots for the June 12 primary. The other options for these displaced candidates are to either run as Independents or to have their supporters vote for them as “write-in” candidates. South Carolina seems like a tough state to be a politician these days.