Federal judges could decide to delay SC primaries

Federal judges may decide to delay state primary

A U.S. district judge took action Thursday on a lawsuit that could provide a fix for the foul-up that left nearly 200 candidates off South Carolina's primary ballot.

U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie tentatively set a hearing for a three judge panel to convene Monday, May 14 at 2 p.m. to consider delaying the June 12 primary.

The suit was brought by Senate District 5 candidate Amanda Somers, whose name was ultimately allowed on the ballot, but who claims her candidacy was thrown into question by the ballot mix-up.

Last week, the state Supreme Court ruled that about 180 candidates didn't file their required Statement of Economic Interest either properly or on time.

The state Senate spent several hours Wednesday debating a joint resolution that would have reinstated most of the candidates, but that measure failed.

The special three-judge panel will consider whether the Voting Rights Act was violated by the Supreme Court ruling, but state lawmakers are hoping the court's action will not push back the primary date.

"What we definitely don't want is the risk of confusion to the state voters, that you have a delayed primary, to those again who did it correctly, and have done their campaigning, done their marketing, bought their things, that you jeopardize that date," said Sen. Luke Rankin, (R) Horry County.

Rep. Alan Clemmons of Myrtle Beach told NewsChannel 15 he has advised all of the ousted candidates in Horry County to start their petition drives now, to be able to run in November as independent candidates.

Clemmons says they won't be able to get on the ballot any other way, because the chance of any kind of a fix to the primary mess, either in the courts or legislature, is now slim to none.

Clemmons will appear on Carolina This Week with a full wrap-up of the ballot mess, Sunday at 9 a.m. on WPDE.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.