County GOP rejects Moseley’s appeal
Charleston County Republicans agreed Thursday that they had legitimate candidates to choose from last week in the county auditor’s race, after all.
In yet another unusual ripple from S.C. Supreme Court rulings that tossed more than 200 candidates off the ballot across the state, the county GOP Executive Committee met at its North Charleston headquarters to hear an appeal from Auditor Peggy Moseley.
Moseley lost her three-way June 12 GOP primary battle to former Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Paul Gawrych.
Earlier this week, she filed a protest, asking the committee to find that Gawrych and her other primary opponent, David Engelman, were not qualified to run.
After more than two hours of hearing witnesses and deliberating in private, the executive committee voted 14-7 to find both were eligible and qualified candidates.
Gawrych called the result “another check in the box” toward his Nov. 6 contest against Democrat Peter Tecklenburg.
“It seems nothing good comes easy,” he added.
Both Moseley and her attorney, Sam Howell, said they have not discussed a possible appeal of Thursday’s decision. Any such appeal would have to be filed by 3 p.m. today before the state GOP Executive Committee.
Asked if she had any reaction, Moseley said, “I was told to see whether it was legal.”
Moseley and Howell claimed that neither Gawrych nor Engelman had submitted a paper copy of their statement of economic interest as required by the two Supreme Court rulings.
“The only one who lucked up, and it was just luck, was Peggy Moseley,” Howell said. “She got lucky. You might not like it.”
Howell said if the county didn’t remove the other candidates, then Democrats could file a court challenge and Republicans might not have any candidate for auditor on Nov. 6.
Asked why she let Gawrych and Engelman remain on the ballot, Charleston County GOP Chair Lin Bennett replied, “They both had current Statements of Economic Interest for 2011 that were good for that current year.”
Gawrych’s attorney, Robert Wyndham, said Moseley was trying to get the executive committee to do what Republicans voters refused to do: make her their candidate for auditor.
“Let’s don’t sugarcoat this as, ‘We’re trying to be a good Republicans,’ because that’s not what this is about,” Wyndham said. “If she cared about the Republican Party, why not bring this claim before we spend all this money and the voters have spoken”
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.