Dorchester Democrats Obtain Preliminary Injunction in Ballot Lawsuit
Parties agree to keep non-incumbent Republicans off the ballot during discovery, according to lawyer.
Update July 10: The preliminary injunction was not signed by a judge and Dorchester County Democratic Lawyer James Smith withdrew his motion for the injunction. Instead, the temporary restraining order issued June 29 was allowed to expire, according to the judge's administrative assistant. Click here for more info.
SUMMERVILLE — Three Dorchester County candidates will remain off the ballot until a lawsuit brought against the county GOP, state GOP and election commission has concluded, according to a Democratic lawyer.
In the suit, Dorchester County Democratic Party claims the county Republican Party illegally certified all of its non-incumbent candidates, in accordance with two S.C. Supreme Court decisions that said non-incumbents must file their Statements of Economic Interest simultaneously with their Statements of Intention of Candidacy at the time of filing. After its filing June 29, a judge signed a temporary restraining order to keep the candidates from appearing on the ballot.
A hearing was scheduled Monday on whether or not to extend the order placed on the non-incumbent Republican candidates but the suit defendants and plaintiffs agreed to a preliminary injunction prior to the hearing, which also keeps the candidates off the ballot, but does not need renewal, , according to county Democratic Party lawyer Rep. James Smith. The injunction will remain in place until the lawsuit is settled or dismissed.
The hearing was not needed and therefore canceled.
Candidates affected are S.C. Senate District 38 GOP nominee Sean Bennett, S.C. House District 97 GOP nominee Ed Carter and Dorchester County Council District 5 GOP nominee Duncan. Only Carter faces a Democratic opponent, incumbent Rep. Patsy Knight, in November general election.
On June 29, the Dorchester County Democratic Party has brought the suit against the Dorchester County Republican Party; its Chair Carroll Duncan; Dorchester County Board of Elections and Voter Registration and its executive director Joshua Dickard; the S.C. Republican Party, its Chair Chad Connelly and its Executive Director Matt Moore; and the State Election Commission, its Executive Director Marci Andino and its Director of Public information and Training Chris Whitmire.
The county Democratic Party begins its discovery in the case Monday, according to Smith.