Area Petition Candidates Make Deadline
County election staff have until August 15 to verify validity of petition signatures.
Area petition candidates had until noon today to submit their petitions to become candidates on the November ballots and all of the local candidates made that deadline.
Registrations and Elections Director Rodney Allen said the petition candidates for Sheriff Stan Whitten and Tim Morgan, each surpassed their required goal.
3,153 signatures were needed to become a petition candidate for sheriff.
Whitten's petition contained 4,077 signatures, nearly 1,000 more than the minimum required, Allen said.
Allen said he had advised all petition to candidates to get at least 25 to 35 percent more signatures on their petitions than the minimums they needed.
Two people vying for seats on Pickens County Council also met the noon deadline.
Kevin Linkenhoker, who is campaigning for County Council District 3 needed 583 signatures to get on the ballot, and collected 950, Allen said.
Chris Bowers submitted 801 signatures for his County Council District 5 campaign. Only 624 signatures were needed.
Allen stressed that those totals are unofficial. He and his staff have until August 15 to verify the petition signatures.
They'll be examining the petitions to make sure the signers only signed the petitions once for each candidate and verifying that the signers are registered to vote in Pickens County.
Tim Morgan, who announced his campaign just two weeks ago, said the campaign went “exceptionally well.”
Morgan needed 3,152 signatures for a chance to appear on the November ballot in the race for sheriff – and received nearly double that, with 6,262 signatures.
“I was pleasantly amazed at the number of folks that worked to get that many signatures with a two week time frame,” Morgan said.
“Like most of the accomplishments in my life, it wasn't anything that I did, but the people around me that's helped me out,” he said. “It was just a whole lot of people that helped get out and make this possible.”
Morgan's campaigning was made more difficult by an obstacle that he himself set. He asked Pickens County Sheriff's Office employees to not involve themselves in his petition campaign.
“The employees, I really want to protect them,” Morgan said. “They have families, they have mortgages depending on their jobs. I didn't want to jeopardize them.”
Morgan said he felt it was important to shield the office and its staff from political blow back, no matter what the result of his campaign ultimately is.
In the past, in other areas and races that Morgan has watched, he's seen new sheriffs come in and clean house of his opponent's supporters.
“It's too big a risk,” Morgan said. “People get all nervous during elections. By asking them to stay out of it, I wanted the employees to know that they're good – whatever happens, they're good. The thing that's of overriding important is the stability of this office.”
Another petition candidate made his needed goal – with even less time to campaign than Morgan had.
Ed Harris is seeking to be on the ballot for House District 3 – a race he'd thought he'd won last month.
Harris beat incumbent Rep. B.R. Skelton in the June 12 primary by 73 votes, but Skelton filed an appeal with the state GOP, claiming Harris' Statement of Economic Interest was missing.
That appeal was unanimously rejected by the state Republican Party executive committee.
Just last week, GOP chairman Chad Connelly intervened, reversing the committee's decision, announcing that the party was de-certifying Harris and that Skelton would be the GOP's nominee in November.
That left Harris with one choice – mounting a petition campaign before the July 16 deadline.
The Anderson Independent Mail reports that Harris collected nearly 1,800 in just under a week.
According to Senate hopeful Rex Rice's Facebook page, he collected just under 4,000 signatures. Rice is hoping to unseat Sen. Larry Martin in November.
Harris and Rice submitted their petitions to the State Elections Commission.
Due to the large number of candidates expected to file for state offices, the State Election Commission had asked candidates to make appointments with it today, Allen said.
The state agency will be sending those petitions to the Pickens County Elections Commissions for verification, Allen said.
“Those petitions will be coming my way very soon,” he said.