If you thought the ballot crisis which threatened to derail South Carolina’s primaries earlier this summer is over, think again. A lawsuit filed in Dorchester County last week threatens to remove multiple State House candidates from the November ballot into even more turmoil.
Just days after the June primary, Dorchester County Democrats demanded proof that the county GOP certified candidates in accordance with the State Supreme Court’s guidelines. The lawsuit, which will be heard on August 6, lists the defendants as Senate 38 candidates Sean Bennett and Mike Rose, House 97 candidate Ed Carter, and Dorchester Co. GOP Chair Carol Duncan.
Duncan, who is also running for Dorchester County Council, certified that all county GOP candidates filed Statements of Economic Interest before the March 30. However, Democrats say State Elections Commission records show that Duncan didn’t file her own SEI until three weeks after the deadline.
If any candidate is found to have been certified improperly, Dorchester GOP officials could be held in contempt of the ruling. Invalid candidates may be taken off the ballot, and removed candidates could possibly seek damages as well.
As Palmetto Public Record reported in June, candidates in several other South Carolina counties have questionable SEI filings as well. Other than a coroner’s race in Sumter County, however, it remains to be seen whether any other lawsuits will be filed before election day.