Some of the Republican candidates who were kicked off of this week’s primary ballots may live to run again as petition candidates — with support from their party.
SC GOP party rule 5(e)5 was designed to punish members who endorse or support candidates outside of the main party. County GOP leaders can waive that for county or local elections — and the Charleston County party voted Monday to waive theirs in order to help their “orphaned” candidates.
Charleston County Republican Chair Lin Bennett says removing the restriction allowed the party to help the candidates gather petition signatures at polling places Tuesday.
“We had volunteers out all over the county collecting signatures where voter turnout tends to be good…in order to get that started. There’s a different number depending on which office you are running for. If you are running for a county council seat, if you are running for a House seat, about 2300, depending on the number of active voters in your district,” Bennett says.
Bennett admits that party officials and the candidates were confused by election laws and how they were communicated. Because of a Supreme Court warning, she had to disqualify another list of candidates in the days leading up to the primary. She says their intention is to make up for the confusion of the past month.
“Everyone was trying to do what they thought was the right thing. It certainly isn’t their fault that they aren’t able to run and we are going to help them in any way that we possibly can to get back on the ballot and be a valid candidate in the fall, ” Bennett says.
County Democratic parties have a similar rule, but chairmen we spoke with said they are not considering that move right now.