Court ruling could keep candidates out of primaries

  • Wednesday, May 9, 2012

South Carolina Republican and Democratic Party leaders are expected to announce today a list of candidates who have been disqualified from running for state and local offices due to a  Supreme Court ruling this week.
On Wednesday — two days after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by two Lexington County voters — the state’s highest court ruled any candidate who did not meet the required State Ethics Commission deadline for filing disclosure forms cannot be on the ballot in next month’s party primaries.
If candidates did not file a statement of economic interest when they filed to run for office, they will not appear on the ballot, according to the unanimous decision by the court.
It appears the ruling only impacts newcomer candidates because incumbents already have the disclosure forms on file.
On Thursday, leaders from the state Republican and Democratic Parties joined together in asking the high court to rehear the case.
The request was denied.
Although it is not known for sure who is disqualified until the state party leaders release a list by noon today, there are some candidates running for Georgetown County offices who could be removed from the ballot.
One possibility is Rod Stalvey, a Republican who filed to run for county auditor.
Another possibility is Tammie Avant, a Republican running for clerk of court.
 In its ruling, the Supreme Court states the disclosure forms — which detail a candidate’s financial information — needed to be filed “at the same time and with the same official” with whom the candidate filed for office.
The justices wrote “the conduct of the political parties in their failure to follow the clear and unmistakable directives of the General Assembly has brought us to this point. Sidestepping the issue now would only delay the inevitable.”
Any candidates removed from the ballot have the option of running as a petition candidate. Filing for those candidates is in July.

By Scott Harper

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