Haley's GOP opponent Ervin withdraws from primary

Photo courtesy Tom Ervin for Governor Facebook page

Gov. Nikki Haley's Republican opponent says he's decided to bypass the primary and become a petition candidate in November.

Tom Ervin withdrew Friday from the June primary, less than two weeks after filing to run as a Republican.

The former House member and judge says he will immediately begin gathering signatures to be a petition candidate. He says he wants to give voters a choice between two career politicians in Haley and Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said Ervin's name will be removed from June 10 primary ballots. His $4,200 candidate filing fee won't be reimbursed.

Campaign disclosures filed Thursday showed Ervin loaned himself more than $420,000 toward his bid. He had just $270,000 available as of March 31, compared to Haley's $4.3 million.