Eight candidates in Charleston County races are off the ballots today after party leaders determined they did not file the proper financial disclosure paperwork.
The removals come after the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled candidates who did not file financial disclosure paperwork must come off the ballot.
Locally, Democrats are feeling the pinch most severely. Six local Dems were tossed from the ballot, according to party records. Only two Republican candidates in Charleston County were affected by the decision.
Democrats off the ballot:
See full statewide list.
Master Bines (State Senate No. 42)
Larry Carter Center (State House No. 114)
Frederick Fielding (State Senate No. 42)
John Polk (County Council No. 3)
Anthony Mark Whisenant (Sheriff)
Melva Zinaich (Auditor)
Republicans off the ballot:
See full statewide list.
Chris Cannon (State House No. 119)
John Steinberger (State Senate No. 41)
"It's unfortunate. The candidates were following instructions from the ethics committee and everyone was acting in good faith," said Charleston Democratic Party Chairman Richard Hricick.
Though the rulling impacts Democrats in Charleston County disproportionately, it's not a political issue, he said.
"I don't see this as a partisan decision," Hricick said. "It disproportinately affected non-incumbents."
Charleston County GOP Chair Lyn Bennett said Republicans were as upset by the decision as their Democratic counterparts.
"This whole thing has my head swmming," Bennett said.
She said the party tried to ensure everyone who filed as a candidate follwed the proper procedure, she told everyone who filed as a challenger they needed to provide the party with their EIC number, which they get when they file their Statement of Economic Interest forms, when they filed their Statement of Intention of Candidacy forms with the party.
"Everyone had an EIC number, so I'm not sure how they got that without filing the forms," Bennet said.
Hricik said the take away lesson for both parties, and future candidates, moving forward is the confluence of new technology and the letter of the law doesn't also flow smoothly.
"When you can file so much online I don't think everyone realized you'd have to also file the paper copies as well," he said.
If the ruling stands, it's good news for five Charleston County incumbents who no longer face opposition. Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, State Sen. Robert Ford, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and County Commissioner Elliott Summey all effectively won re-election with the ruling, since the only opposition they faced was from a Democrat in November.
All of the candidates could still run as petition candidates if they choose, but to do so they will have to collect signatures from 5 percent of the registered voters in their district to appear on ballots.
"I'm sure we'll have lots of members in our party supporting the candidates that want to run as petition candidates," Bennett said.
"Right now the question is if there is a way to get them on the ballots as Democrats as they filed," Hricik said.
Statewide, 95 Democrats and 88 Republicans were removed from ballots.