The District 41 roller coaster
The voters of Senate District 41 will have something that many other state and local districts won’t get this year — a contested election between a Democrat and a Republican.
That would have been welcome across the state — a fact generally recognized after the state Supreme Court tossed more than 250 candidates off the ballot last spring.
Surprisingly, though, the Supreme Court voted 3-2 on Thursday in support of a lower court ruling to allow a special GOP primary for District 41. The case was initially brought on behalf of Paul Thurmond, who apparently is the beneficiary of the ruling.
Mr. Thurmond, a former Charleston County Councilman, came in first in the primary last Tuesday, and the second-place finisher, Sen. Walter Hundley, announced Friday that he would suspend his campaign for the runoff. Wally Burbage came in third.
Leading up to the November election, the district has so far seen a special election, a special primary election, two unsuccessful petition candidacies and several court rulings related to Mr. Thurmond’s efforts to remain on the ballot.
The seat was held for 31 years by Republican Glenn McConnell, who reluctantly resigned to become lieutenant governor, after Ken Ard left that post because of ethics violations.
The district represents portions of Charleston and Dorchester counties.
Barring any further surprises — will the scheduled primary runoff be held? — Mr. Thurmond can be expected to meet former Charleston City Councilman Paul Tinkler, a Democrat, in the general election.
It should be a highly competitive race, the kind that would have been seen across the state, had not so many candidates been unfortunately removed from the ballot because of their failure to meet a technical requirement of the law on filing disclosure forms.
Understandably, state Democratic party leaders aren’t happy about the latest ruling. But the voters of District 41 should welcome the opportunity to make a choice of their own in the general election.