UPDATE: According to the South Carolina Radio Network, the court has denied the parties’ request for a rehearing. Original story continues below:
It seems fitting that South Carolina’s two main political parties would miss the filing deadline Thursday to challenge a State Supreme Court ruling kicking potentially hundreds of state and local candidates off the primary ballot for missing a filing deadline. After all, the parties are a big part of the reason those candidates messed up in the first place.
State law requires candidates to file a statement of economic interest at the same time they register their candidacy with the state Democratic or Republican party. As Palmetto Public Record reported late Wednesday, the court ruled that the parties should not have accepted one without the other — and that candidates who didn’t submit their statements by the March 30 filing deadline should be left off the June primary ballot.
According to The State, the number of state and local candidates affected by the ruling could be in the hundreds. “Barring a reconsideration, it is safe to assume all challengers are off the ballot and just look for exceptions,” Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston) commented on Twitter after the ruling came down.
However, the court gave lawyers from the SCGOP, SCDP and the State Ethics Commission — whose guidance the parties reportedly followed in neglecting the forms — until 10:00am Thursday to file for a rehearing of the case to try to get their candidates back on the ballot. But as WIS-TV’s Jody Barr reports, the parties managed to screw it up once again:
WIS cameras were rolling at the Supreme Court building until the deadline passed Thursday. At 10:07 a.m., a courier hand-delivered the reconsideration filings to the clerk’s office where they were clocked in and filed. The filing was seven minutes late.
When WIS questioned deputy clerk Brenda Shealy about whether the late filing was valid, Shealy said, “I’m not discussing that with you.” WIS has a call in to Chief Justice Jean Toal for clarification as to whether the filing will be allowed since it came in after the court-ordered deadline.
Obviously it isn’t the state Democratic and Republican parties’ job to hold the hand of every candidate and run their campaigns for them. But when an average Joe launches a campaign on no staff and a shoestring budget, it stands to reason that state parties should be able to competently guide him through all the t-crossing and i-dotting necessary to get on the ballot.
It’s still not clear whether the court will allow the late challenge to be heard. On one hand, it would be unfair to irrevocably kick hundreds of candidates off the ballot just because the state parties missed a deadline by seven minutes. But on the other hand, it really shouldn’t be this hard to just turn in your homework on time… Right?