Horry County trying to find money to fund GOP Primary

There will be a Republican Presidential Primary in South Carolina next month, but how it will be paid for is up in the air.

The South Carolina Republican Party says it's not going to pay for it, and the State Election Commission says it doesn't have enough money.

The primary is expected to cost about $1.5 million statewide.

From paying poll workers, to printing ballots, to renting trucks to haul voting machines.. elections are expensive.

The State Supreme Court ruled last month the state and counties are responsible for the cost of next month's Republican Presidential Primary, so the state GOP says it won't contribute any money beyond the candidate's filing fees.

The primary is expected to cost about $70,000 in Horry County alone, and county election officials are looking for ways to pay for it.

"We'll probably have to move some money around in the budget to cover this, but we've been charged by the courts to conduct this election so we'll have to make it work," said Horry County Election Director Sandy Martin.

Larry Richardson is a Republican state committeeman for Horry County. He says it's not fair to ask all taxpayers to pay for a Republican popularity contest, but he also understands his state party's point of view.

"Since the Republican Party has no input into how the election is run, then why should the Republican Party pay for it?," he asked.

South Carolina has open primaries, in which anyone can vote, but Richardson thinks the state should require party registration for primary voting.

"Let's get back to what the state law reads, that each party is responsible for its own primary."

Greg McCollum is a former Horry County Democratic Party Chair who says he doesn't have a problem with his tax dollars being used to fund a GOP primary.

"It's so crucial and vital to our system that that's something that should be handled properly and be appropriately funded, in my view."

The State Election Commission notified state budget officials today that the agency will need an additional half-million dollars to pay for the primary, and they don't know where they'll get it.

The primary is scheduled for Saturday, January 21st.