By Paul Gable
Two Supreme Court orders later, candidates certified to be included on the June 12th Republican primary ballot in Horry County still include some who did not file a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) when they filed their Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC), according to information provided to Grand Strand Daily.
Several former Horry County Republican Party officials, who were involved in the filing process, told me they had no information regarding the requirement for the Statement of Economic Interests form to be filed at the same time as the Statement of Intention of Candidacy by non-incumbent candidates.
“The only instructions given were to fill out the two sheets (the Party Pledge and the Statement of Intention of Candidacy) and go look at the SC Ethics Commission website,” said one speaking on conditions of anonymity. “Several candidates brought a Statement of Economic Interests with them and they were the only ones who filed in compliance with the court ruling.”
Those candidates were Heather Ammons Ward and Larry Richardson, House District 68 and Janice Morreale, Horry County School Board District 5.
All other non-incumbent Republican candidates in Horry County did not file in accordance with the court ruling handed down Wednesday and reiterated Thursday. However, two non-incumbents, Blake Hewitt, House District 105 and Dennis DiSabato, House District 56 were certified to be on the upcoming primary ballot.
Link below to form provided to state GOP by Horry County GOP. Column E lists those candidates who provided the SEI at the time of filing. Where the column is blank, the candidate did not provide the SEI at time of filing.
We have received several calls after the names of the certified candidates were released around noon today, asking why those two candidates were certified. Our only answer is two weeks after first pointing out the problems in the filing process and two days after the first Supreme Court decision, the party still can’t get its act straight.
I expect this problem is not unique to Horry County. Wednesday night, an e-mail from state GOP headquarters was sent out to candidates throughout the state essentially asking the candidates to certify themselves:
“Dear 2012 Local Candidate,
Please read this email and respond with “Yes” or “No” before 2:00 pm on Thursday, May 3rd. This matter requires your urgent attention.
As you may have heard, the Supreme Court issued a ruling this afternoon that directed the Republican and Democratic Parties to ONLY certify non-exempt candidates (i.e. candidates who did not already have a Statement of Economic interest on file with the State Ethics Commission) who accompanied their Statement of Intention of Candidacy with a Statement of Economic Interests when they filed with their local party representatives.
Under the Court’s order, the political parties must provide a list of candidates who are eligible under this standard to the State Election Commission by noon on Friday, May 4th.
Therefore, please respond to this email and confirm whether you accompanied your Statement of Intention of Candidacy with a Statement of Economic Interests form (either a fill-in-the-blank paper copy or a printout from the State Ethics Commission) at the time that you declared your candidacy with the county party. Your response will be considered under oath.
Just so that you are aware, we are in the process of considering ALL legal options available to remedy this situation, including a petition for rehearing and a potential federal lawsuit to challenge this decision. However, in the meantime, your urgent response to this email is necessary.
Thank you in advance,
South Carolina Republican Party”
The only conclusion that can be drawn is nobody in the party really knows what is going on with the filing process.
I know of no similar problems with Horry County Democratic Party certifications. One reason may be there are so few candidates who filed.
There are also rumblings in Columbia regarding legislation to be proposed next week to allow more candidates on the ballot. How much longer must this be dragged out?
Regardless of how much more is done, if anything, to try and include more candidates on the primary ballot, more lawsuits are coming and look to continue through election certification in November.
This whole mess is like the Energizer Bunny – it just keeps going and going.