by Paul Bowers
Many of the non-incumbent candidates for state and county offices who were knocked off the ballots by a state Supreme Court ruling Wednesday are now back in the running. They can thank a provision in state law that protects many of the candidates from the filing technicality that had eliminated them.
The South Carolina State Election Commission has released an updated list of candidates whose names are currently on the ballots. Here are the lists for the Democrats (PDF) and the Republicans (PDF). Among the reinstated candidates are College of Charleston students Peter vonLehe Ruegner and Will Freeman, both Republicans. Another spreadsheet, provided by District 110 House candidate Peter vonLehe Ruegner, shows which Republican candidates are in the running and which are out (indicated by a Yes or a No under the "Certified" column). You can take a look at that spreadsheet here.
Charleston County GOP chairperson Lin Bennett says she hardly slept the past two nights as the party scrambled to find a way for Republican candidates to get back on the ballot. The original issue that had disqualified so many candidates was that they had failed to file a Statement of Economic Interest at the same time and place as their declaration of candidacy. Since South Carolina now gives candidates the option of filing the Statement of Economic Interest via the internet, many of them filed electronically and then printed out a receipt to show to Bennett when they filed with the Charleston County GOP. Anybody who filed the SEI before filing for office is in the clear now, she says. Anybody who filed the SEI after filing for office is out of luck.
Why? Because public officials do not have to re-file an SEI every time they run for office, Bennett says, and under Section 8-13-1300(28) of the S.C. Code of Laws, a candidate for office counts as a public official.
Larry Carter Center, a Charleston-area candidate who had planned to run for Republican Bobby Harrell's House seat in District 114, is no longer included on the list of Democratic candidates, but he says he will continue to run as a Green Party candidate while seeking the support of other parties — including the S.C. Working Families Party — to run as a "fusion candidate."