Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The confusion over who will be on the ballot in next week’s party primaries — and on the November ballot — continued Thursday as more names were removed in the wake of two South Carolina Supreme Court rulings.
This means the only Georgetown County-only race that will be on the ballot Tuesday is for sheriff, a Republican contest between incumbent Lane Cribb and newcomer Doug Dishong.
Republicans will also choose which of their party’s nine candidates for the new District 7 Congressional seat will proceed to November, or to a runoff on June 26.
Democrats in the county will decide which of their four candidates in that race will advance.
They will also get to choose between incumbent Yancey McGill and newcomer Cezar McKnight for the Senate 32 seat.
Candidates who were supposed to be on the ballot Tuesday that are now disqualified are Bubba Grimes, who was seeking the Georgetown County Council District 5 seat and Jackie Williams, a Democrat who was running against incumbent state representative Carl Anderson, according to County Election Director Donna Mahn.
Earlier, Rod Stalvey, candidate for auditor and clerk of court candidate Tammie Avant were removed from the ballot for the same reason. Both have announced they are running in November as petition candidates.
The disqualifications do not end with next week’s primaries.
Mahn said most of the newcomers who were seeking office but had no primary opposition have also been deemed ineligible.
They are: Mike Andrews who was running as a Republican for County Treasurer; Tom Winslow, a Republican seeking House seat 103; Darryel Carr, a Democrat running for Sheriff; Jarrod Ownbey a Democrat seeking House seat 108; Ben Dunn, a Democrat seeking County Council District 5.
Stephen Goldfinch will be on ballot in November for House seat 108. Brian Shult will be on the November ballot for county auditor.
The reason for the disqualifications is a state law requiring candidates to turn in Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) forms at the same time they file to run.
Party leaders say the candidates who are ineligible did not follow that rule.
Mahn said it’s too late to change the ballots so signs will be posted at each polling place Tuesday informing voters any ballots cast for any of the disqualified candidates will not count.
Lots of disappointment
The reaction to the disqualifications came not only from those affected by the change, but also from the Statehouse.
“I am deeply disappointed by the number of people that want to serve in public office that are being denied a place on the ballot,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a Facebook posting Thursday. “The proper instructions were not given to these candidates during filing. That is not their fault. Demand answers. It is a sad day in our country when people aren't given a choice.”
Williams said she will continue her quest to unseat Carl Anderson but is upset she has to do it as a petition candidate.
“I am just taken aback by this. It is unspeakable how the candidates have been handled,” she said.
Williams said she thought she had properly filed her Statement of Economic Interest the day she filed to run. She said once she entered the data on the computer, she hit the “file” button. She did not know at the time she was also supposed to hit a “confirm” button.
She said she learned of the error about a week later when she called the Ethics Commission to find out why she had not received confirmation her forms had been accepted.
She said she will run as a petition candidate.
Anderson said he was also unhappy because he was looking forward to Tuesday’s primary.
“I have been advertising in the newspaper and have radio spots that were supposed to start (Thursday),” he said. “I am sorry this is how all this is panning out.”
Carr said he also plans to run as a petition candidate against the winner of Tuesday’s contest for sheriff.
“It is what it is. I have to deal with it and deal with the cards I’ve been dealt,” Carr said, adding he will begin immediately gathering signatures to be on the ballot in November. “It’s all about getting on the ballot and becoming the next sheriff of Georgetown County.”
Andrews said he has not decided if he will run for treasurer as a petition candidate.
“I not sure what I’m going to do. I was shocked to hear I was disqualified.”
Andrews said Jim Jerow told him the Ethics Commission and Elections Commission said it was OK for candidates to go home and file the SEI on their computer.
“I understood that everything was OK,” he said.
Stalvey has already started collecting signatures to be a petition candidate for auditor. He said, as of Thursday, he had about 200 signatures.
“My opponent [Brian Shult] did not file his two required pieces of paper at the same time,” Stalvey said, adding he plans to file a protest with the attorney general over Shult’s candidacy after the primary
“I was very disappointed to hear all these people were removed from the ballot. It’s not a good thing for anybody. It’s not a good thing for the voters of the state and this county. It’s a bad time,” he said.
Avant said petitions are already being circulated in the county and can be found at the following locations: Pawleys Island Supplies, the Ball-n-Que restaurant, Winyah Chiropractic Clinic, The Cuttin Edge Barber Shop, New Beginnings Salon, The Gathering Place and the Colonial Florist.
If she is successful in obtaining the required number of signatures, Avant will face incumbent Clerk of Court Alma White in November.
The candidates for the county offices need to collect about 2,000 signatures by July 16.
By Chris Sokoloski
and Scott Harper