Eight Candidates Off the Ballots in Pickens County
Candidates are disappointed, but hope to be on the ballot in November.
In March, 24 candidates filed to run as Republicans in the June 12 primary.
After a ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court, eight of those candidates names will have to be removed from the ballot.
The candidates were taken off after party leaders determined they did not file statements of economic interests properly.
Those removed from the ballot in Pickens County are:
- Jimmy Davis — County Council Seat 3
- Kevin Link — County Council Seat 3
- Chris Bowers — County Council Seat 05
- Kevin Welborn — County Council Seat 05
- Ed J. Harris — House District 003
- Rex Rice — Senate District 02
- Kerry Avery — Sheriff
- Stan Whitten — Sheriff
Overall, 88 Republican and 95 Democratic candidates statewide are off the ballot.
County Council Seat 5 candidate Chris Bowers said he is frustrated by an antiquated law.
"I challenge my House and Senate members to make sure that this doesn't happen again," Bowers said on Friday.
Bowers said that he tried to file everything in accordance with the law, but when it came down to it, he hit the save button instead of the file button on his electronic economic interest statement.
"According to the law, both have to be filed with the same person at the same time," Bowers said. "So I'm off the ballot."
Bowers said despite this setback, he is determined.
"I still want change in my county," Bowers said. "I'm going to do everything that I can to be on the ballot in November."
Bowers said to file as a petition candidate, he will have to obtain at least 1,000 signatures. But said he will pursue every option avaiable to him.
"Now is the time to start knocking on people's doors," Bowers said.
Senate District 2 candidate Rex Rice said that he has begun to investigate all of his options.
He's hoping that a federal lawsuit that could be filed will put a stop to what he says is a violation of the State's Constitution.
"We have an equal right to hold or run for office, according to Article 1, Section 5," Rice said. "What the court ruled was a law that was written before electronic means were availble. It's an outdated statute."
Rice, a former House lawmaker, said that he filed under the directions he was given. Rice filed his economic interest statement on April 9, he said, still before the April 15 deadline he was used to when he filed the disclosure forms as a legislator. He said his opponent, Senator Larry Martin, filed on April 10.
"It's a dark day in South Carolina," Rice said.
Rice said at this point he may try to ramp up a write-in campaign, but says he holds out hope for the resolution through a federal suit.
"There's a whole lot of people out there who have just as much at stake," Rice said. "It's not the party's fault."
Rice said that there is only one loser in this fight, "It's the people of South Carolina and the people in the districts that these candidates attempted to represent. They have lost an opportunity for choice."