Sources: Greenville GOP Candidates Were Ineligible
Ballot controversy has already produced mayhem in other parts of Palmetto State.
Multiple Greenville County candidates illegally took part in June's Republican primary, according to sources with knowledge of election procedures and the county GOP.
At least one of the candidates in Greenville County who should have been ineligible was Mike Barnes, who won the race for Greenville County Council District 18, said one source who was knowledgeable about election procedures.
Barnes told Patch on Friday that he is not aware of any issues with his filing.
"No one has told me that there was a problem," Barnes said.
Barnes defeated incumbent Joseph Baldwin by 11 percentage points and will be unopposed in the general election in November.
Whether candidates realized their mistakes with the 2010 election law or not, a source with knowledge of local election procedures say voters were denied choices.
“People who lied were rewarded and people who did the right thing were punished. And that stinks for the voters."
In two state Supreme Court rulings prior to the primary, the court found that any candidate who did not present a Statement of Economic Interest Form (SEI) and Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC) simultaneously should be decertified.
Read the Supreme Court’s May 2 opinion HERE.
The fallout from the opinion led to more than 200 non-incumbent candidates being purged from the ballot, including three Greenville County candidates: Republican Tommie Reece and Democrats Jeff Dishner and Ennis Fant.
Patch has agreed to withhold the names of the candidates and sources in this story since they feared going public with their concerns would hurt their professional and/or political careers.
One candidate told Patch that they believe they should not have been on the ballot, because they emailed their SEI after filing the SIC. However, they were allowed on the ballot and lost.
Sources close to a second candidate said that the candidate admitted privately to not having correctly followed filing procedures.
A third candidate told Patch that they turned in both forms at the same time, and party officials were surprised when both filings were simultaneously turned in.
Another source with knowledge of election process said only two candidates in Greenville filed correctly according to the ruling by the Supreme Court.
The Greenville County GOP chairwoman Betty Poe is responsible for certifying the candidates. She has not responded to requests by Patch to discuss the decisions on which candidates to certify.
One of the candidates who sources said filed correctly was Ross Turner, who ended up winning the hotly contested race with Joe Swann for the District 8 Senate Seat.
The S.C. Republican Party has gotten involved, decertifying a Pickens County candidate who won his primary. Chairman Chad Connelly overruled his own executive committee to declare B.R. Skelton the Republican nominee for S.C. House Seat 3.
In Dorchester County, the county Democratic Party filed suit against the Republican Party alleging its non-incumbent candidates were certified despite not following state election law. The suit has not moved forward yet.
And SCGOP Executive Director Matt Moore suggested Friday that the intervention was not over:
"The Supreme Court’s orders to disqualify improperly-certified candidates are continuing. There is no statute of limitations on compliance. If a candidate was improperly certified, the State Party will absolutely not certify them for the general election," he told Patch.
When asked Friday about the growing electoral controversy with statewide impact, Gov. Nikki Haley said:
"This is embarrassing. I never thought in my lifetime I would see candidates who want to serve and won their races, then be pulled off the ballot. Someone needs to step up and take responsibility. This is not about the candidates. You have to go to the people who were responsible for getting the candidates signed up correctly."