A federal court ruling has cleared the way for the son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond to run for Senate District 41. The seat was vacated when Charleston Senator Glenn McConnell became Lt. Governor this year.
A group of Democratic voters, represented by party Chair Dick Harpootlian, appealed Paul Thurmond’s being allowed to run again in a last-minute party primary, after he was ultimately kicked off of the ballot for incorrectly filing financial paperwork.
Harpootlian argued that Voting Rights Act was violated when a court called for a new primary without clearing through the U.S. Justice Department– a requirement for elections changes since the civil rights era.
A three-judge panel in Charleston dismissed the case Thursday. The justices in Tuesday’s hearing, openly questioned how striking Thurmond from the ballot advances the concerns of the Voting Rights Act.
Thurmond now runs against Democrat Paul Tinkler on Nov. 6, unless the new ruling is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.