The South Carolina Election Commission has reopened the race for a Lowcountry state House seat seat of former after he dropped out as part of an agreement over accused ethics violations.
According to The State newspaper, election commissioners decided Southard withdrew for a “legitimate, nonpolitical reason.” Southard had resigned from the House in April after a female page accused him of sexual harassment.
However, he did not take his name off the ballot for a November reelection following his resignation. Last week, the House Ethics Committee found the 69-year-old violated the chamber’s no harassment policy and fined him $2,000.
No other candidates had been listed on the ballot this fall, although one candidate had attempted a petition campaign. The commission’s decision will set a new special election date.
Candidates can file for the seat from Berkeley County between June 28 and July 5. Any primaries will be held July 19.
If commissioners had voted no, the petition process would have been the only way for candidates to get on the ballot.