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Thurmond's District 41 Foes Wiped Out?

Fallout from the S.C. Supreme Court's decision on Tuesday is still unclear

CORRECTION: This article was updated at 5 p.m. June 7 to correct that Paul Thurmond's name does appear on the S.C. Election Commission list of candidates.

ORIGINAL STORY: An updated list of candidates for next Tuesday's June 12 primary races in Charleston County continues to include Paul Thurmond in the S.C. Senate District 41 race.

Despite repeated attempts by Democrats for him to withdraw from the race, Thurmond, son of legendary South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, told Patch that he thinks he belongs on the ballot.

He said that he and the Charleston County GOP believe as a prosecutor for the City of North Charleston, he meets the public official exemption for filing a paper copy of his Statement of Economic Interest form at the same time he filed to run for the office.

"It is what it is," Thurmond said. "I followed the advice of the Party Chair, and my understanding is that like some other folks with the public official exemption I am exempt as well."

Thurmond said he fully expects that to be challenged however, and added that Republicans have grounds to challenge Democratic candidate Paul Tinkler as well. Tinkler has been certified by the Charleston County Democratic Party and remained on his party's list of candidates for the November general election following Tuesday's ruling. He did not face any other Democratic candidates for the party's nomination for the Senate District 41 seat.

However, two of Thurmond's opponents in the race — Wally Burbage and Sean Pike — do not appear on the election commission's list of Charleston County candidates. Republican John Steinberger had already been removed from the ballot by the .

No candidates in Berkeley and Dorchester counties were affected by the decision, according to party officials there.

Thurmond said he will continue to fight to remain on the ballot if necessary because he believes people deserve to have a choice in November, and he is not happy about getting the GOP nomination in this manner.

"It's a totally hollow feeling," Thurmond said. "It is absolutely not a way I wanted to win, by default."

Thurmond added that he would welcome petition candidacies from the other candidates that were removed from the ballot, though he thinks mounting such a campaign during a presidential election year with the population as polarized as it is would be an uphill struggle of Sisyphean proportions.

On Tuesday the and were improperly certified by the party. The case centered on whether candidates who filed SEI forms with the State Ethics Commission prior to filing for candidacy were exempt from filing a paper copy at the time they officially filed for candidacy. The election law includes candidates for office in its definition of public officials, and public officials, who are required to keep current SEI forms on file with the Ethics Commission in their roles as public officials, are exempt from having to file SEI forms because the law assumes they already have a current one on file.

The State Supreme Court ruled that despite the definition of public official including candidates for office, those candidates not already in elected or appointed office do not meet the exemption.

Thurmond said his case is different from the cases in Florence County that led to the lawsuit, because prior to filing to run for the S.C. Senate seat, he actually was a public official, serving as prosecutor for the City of North Charleston.

"As a prosecutor I already act for the state," he said. "If someone were to threaten my life in my role as a prosecutor he would be charged with threatening a public official."

According the the Ethics Commission website, Thurmond filed his SEI on March 28. Thurmond posted on his Facebook Page Thursday that his SEI had been filed about 30 minutes prior to him filing as a candidate.

TCWash June 08, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I wonder if Paul will ask his lovely half sister, Ms Essie Mae Washington Williams to come out and campaign for him? I bet they do not spend near enough time together.
Cold War Vet June 08, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Seems like the politicians have a bag full of exemptions at their disposal.
Barbara McGowin June 08, 2012 at 05:20 PM
The following is from 52-502 @ http://www.scstatehouse.gov/coderegs/c052.php "B. A Statement of Economic Interests shall be filed as follows: (1) A public official who has filed a Statement of Economic Interests in the same calendar year as his declaration for candidacy or petition for nomination shall complete the first page [hereinafter "information page"] of the Commission's Statement of Economic Interests only and file the first page of the Statement with the official with whom the candidate files a declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination. (2) A person who has not filed a Statement of Economic Interests in the same calendar year as his declaration for candidacy or petition for nomination shall complete the entire Statement of Economic Interests Form for the preceding calendar year and file the entire Statement with the official with whom the candidate files his declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination. C. No later than five business days after the candidacy books close, the official receiving the declarations of candidacy or petitions for nomination shall file a copy of the Information Page and completed Statements of Economic Interests with the Commission along with the Roster of Candidates." It is simple to clear up. Did the Elections Commission receive a copy of the Information Page of the SEI with the Roster of Candidates from the SCRP by April 4, 2012 for Thurmond?

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