1st Dist. candidate wins battle to stay on ballot
First District congressional hopeful Ben Frasier hired a lawyer at 3 p.m. Wednesday and four hours later got a ruling letting him remain on the Democrats' June 10 primary ballot.
Nancy Suefert of North Charleston challenged his candidacy, claiming he is not a legal resident of South Carolina and therefore shouldn't be considered eligible to vote here.
She presented several documents to the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration showing that Frasier has a home and several businesses in Maryland and far fewer legal ties to his purported home on Wadmalaw Island.
But Frasier and his freshly hired attorney, Tommy Goldstein, argued that Frasier has a South Carolina residence, driver's license and voter registration. He has voted regularly here and never has voted in Maryland.
South Carolina law doesn't specify the exact steps someone must take to be qualify to register to vote here, but it does say counties can consider tax returns, mailing addresses, driver's licenses, past voting records and even the elector's intent, when determining their eligibility to get on the voting rolls.
Election board members needed only 10 minutes before unanimously agreeing that Frasier passed the test.
Had they found otherwise, the South Carolina Democratic Party could have voided his candidacy.
Frasier said he felt Suefert's challenge "might be politically motivated," but she denied that. The two had a cordial conversation after the board's vote. She later said she was disappointed in the board's decision.
Frasier, who has a driving school in Maryland, said he drives back and forth between the states as often as twice a week and sometimes spends more time here than up there. "It depends on what I'm doing," he said.
He now faces a June 10 primary battle against Charleston businesswoman and philanthropist Linda Ketner, whose campaign has said it wasn't behind Suefert's challenge.
Ketner's campaign focused Wednesday not on the primary but on Republican incumbent Rep. Henry Brown.
It noted Ketner outpaced Brown in fundraising — she with $413,875 to his $136,479 — during the past quarter. Brown still has raised about $125,000 more overall, however.