Last week the S.C. Supreme Court issued a ruling that will have the effect of removing an estimated 100 candidates statewide from the primary and general election ballots this year.  They were removed because they failed to file a statement of economic interest as required by law.  Below is the text of the law.

(8-13-1356) states that, “A candidate must file a statement of economic interests for the preceding calendar year at the same time and with the same official with whom the candidate files a declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination.” In addition, the code states, “An officer authorized to receive declarations of candidacy and petitions for nominations under the provisions of Chapter 11 of Title 7 may not accept a declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination unless the declaration or petition is accompanied by a statement of economic interests. If the candidate’s name inadvertently appears on the ballot, the officer authorized to receive declarations of candidacy or petitions for nomination must not certify the candidate subsequent to the election.” 
The law also states, “This section does not apply to a public official who has a current disclosure statement on file with the appropriate supervisory office pursuant to Sections 8-13-1110 or 8-13-1140.”  In other words, incumbents, who already file regular statements of economic interest, are exempt from the requirement to file a statement of econonic interest when they file for reelection.

Therefore, even if a candidate appeared on the ballot who failed to file the required documents, and won, he or she could not, according to the law, be certified the winner.  The court was clear in their ruling that they understand the gravity of their decision, which was unanimus, but that the law is very clear.  You can read the ruling and how The State covered the decision by clicking here.

The parties are trying to find a way around this issue and reopen filing.  However, Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Horry, chairman of the House election law subcommittee, told The State that state law requires reopening “by loss of the candidate through death or through resignation of the nominee for nonpolitical reasons. Those are the only two exceptions.  There also are appeals to the Federal courts about this ruling and the law.

The Legislature also has attempted to restore at least some of the candidates to the ballot, but so far there has been insufficient support to correct the problem.

Assuming the parties do not find a way to reopen filing, or to otherwise challenge the decision, the following candidates in Greenville and Pickens counties are reported to be off the ballot:

Senate District 2 (Larry Martin is seeking reelection):
Rex Rice (R)

Remaining in the race in Senate 2:
Larry Martin (R)

Senate District 7 (Ralph Anderson is not seeking reelection):
Ennis Fant (D)

Remaining in the race in Senate 7:
Jane Kizer (R)
Karl Allen (D)
Lillian Brock Flemming (D)

Senate District 8 (David Thomas is running for reelection):
Jeff Dishner (D)

Remaining in the race in Senate 8:
David Thomas (R)
Joe Swann (R)
Chad Groover (R)
Jim Lee (R)
Ross Turner (R)

House District 25 (Karl Allen is running for Senate District 7):
Seldon Peden (D)
Leola Robinson –Simpson (D)

Remaining in the race in House District 25
Tony Boyce (D)

Note that this list is incomplete; it covers only races for the General Assembly.  If the parties and candidates erred in these races, it is likely that candidates for County Council also may be impacted.

Candidate Screening:
The HBA Legislative Committee is currently screening candidates for support.  Their recommendations will be sent to the HBA Board of Directors and if approved, some candidates will receive campaign contributions from the South Carolina Builders Political Action Committee.