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As you have probably heard, last week’s ruling by the SC Supreme Court has kicked many other challenger candidates off the election ballot this year, bringing the total removed statewide to around 300. As in their previous ruling, no incumbents were removed, and most will now run unopposed.
Here in Edgefield County, candidates William Smith, Davis Parkman, George Attaway, Betty Butler and I have been purged from the ballot. As a result of the legislative scheme which creates a special exemption for current officials, there were no local contested primaries on June 12 and the only potential contested local races in November will be from petition candidates.
A number of people have asked me since the original May 2 ruling, why can’t the legislature do something about this? Well, they could have if they had wanted to.
On May 9, a group of SC Senators attempted to solve the problem by changing the law to give challengers the same filing deadline of April 20th that incumbents have. Unfortunately, that effort failed as too many incumbent Senators were looking out for their own self interest or the interests of their buddies. You may be interested to know about the representation provided by our own Senator Shane Massey at that time.
During the crucial vote to consider this important legislation that would have given challengers the same date as incumbents to file the Statement of Economic Interests, Senator Massey left early. He was granted leave during the vote by his colleagues, left the Senate floor and did not cast a vote (Senate votes #1038 and 1039). Had Senator Massey and a few other Senators supported this legislation, it would have passed.
To shed more light on this matter, when Senator Massey first filed to run for the Senate in 2007, he himself failed to comply with the same legal filing requirements which are the subject of the current controversy. According to records on file in the Clerk of Court’s office at the Edgefield County Courthouse, Massey filed for the Senate on July 27, 2007, and did not file his Economic Interest Statement until 10 days later on August 6, 2007. Given that, one would think that he would have at least cast a vote on a fix to this problem and give the citizens of SC the choices they deserve.
Let me say that Shane Massey seems to be a nice young man. An examination of his Senate record is nothing personal and is a fair subject for evaluation by the voters. If you would like copies of any of the information that I have mentioned, please let me know.
I think most people involved know in their hearts that what has happened with this year’s election is wrong. Our constitutional rights to due process and equal protection of the laws are at issue. Further legal action may be forthcoming to attempt to correct this injustice that has been done to the people of SC.
Thank you for your time and interest. Stay tuned.
John W. Pettigrew, Jr.