An Upstate Republican legislator plans to challenge his own party’s candidate for Secretary of State next year.
State Rep. Joshua Putnam said he will make a formal announcement Thursday morning. The Secretary of State is an elected post which handles business filings and registers charities in South Carolina.
Putnam said a lot of businesses are frustrated with the slugishness of the office under current Secretary of State Mark Hammond, for instance that it did not create an online business filing system until this year.
“I think having an outside perspective, having new energy can be able to lead the office and bring it into the 21st century,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “Someone who knows technology and understands how the world changes day-in to day-out.”
Hammond has led the office since 2002, when the now 28-year-old Putnam was in junior high school. The current secretary has indicated he will run for reelection next year. Putnam is in his sixth year of service in the South Carolina House and operates his a landscaping business.
Some conservative groups have targeted the bureaucratic office for years. The libertarian-leaning group SC Club for Growth took the unprecedented step of endorsing Hammond’s Democratic opponent in the 2014 election. Hammond ended up winning the seat substantially, but has only reported raising about $5,700 so far this year.
Hammond defended his record. He told the Anderson Independent-Mail his office has been honored as one of the best in the nation for cracking down on “sham charities” and also noted a new electronic business filing system went online in February.