HICKS COLUMN: Did we really need an election for this?
So Paul Thurmond is the GOPís nominee for state Senate District 41 ó again.
The former Charleston County councilman won the nomination in June when all his opponents were kicked off the ballot for filing their statements of economic interest improperly.
Shortly after the primary, Democrats filed suit and got Thurmond kicked off the ballot for the same paperwork error. So the GOP didnít have a candidate.
Then a judge went against the State Election Commission and gave the Republicans a do-over. Thurmond filed again, and a couple of weeks ago faced sitting Sen. Walter Hundley and Wally Burbage in a special election.
This led to a runoff with Hundley, but Hundley suspended his campaign, basically conceding to Thurmond.
Which means Thurmond is the GOPís nominee again.
This is the very definition of going around your elbow to get to your assumed nominee.
Waste of money?
More than a few folks thought this weekís runoff was a colossal waste of $10,000 in taxpayer money.
Al Miller Jr., a self-described conservative voter in West Ashley, was among those less than thrilled with a runoff without a contest.
ďWhy do we have to spend money for an election we didnít need?Ē Miller asked. Very good question.
Hundley suspended his campaign apparently to allow Thurmond the win (he didnít want a full term anyhow, he was just taking one for the party). If he had withdrawn, there still would have been a runoff, with Burbage, the third-place finisher.
But GOP officials say Burbage likely would have withdrawn to save the money too. So why go through with this?
Uh, because there are still issues with the election.
New day, new lawsuit
State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian, doing business as a District 41 voter, filed suit over the GOPís special election. Itís going to court this month.
Thereís a lot of legalese in the suit, but basically it comes down to the Republicans getting a do-over when none of the other 250 candidates disqualified got that opportunity.
Itís a good point, but Charleston County Republican Party Chairwoman Lin Bennett has a good argument against that.
ďI just think the voters ó not the courts, not Dick Harpootlian ó should get a chance to elect our candidate,Ē Bennett says.
Chances are the feds will not get involved, but if they do the whole election could be thrown out, not just Thurmondís nomination. So ultimately we didnít need a runoff.
This ballotgate fiasco has been a huge headache all year, and has helped no one in this state ó well, except incumbents and some lawyers.
Now Charleston voters, and some in Dorchester County, are out another $20,000 ($10k for the special election, another $10k for the runoff). And all so 2,400 voters could choose a nominee that many more of them picked, by default, back in June.
Itís no wonder folks like Miller are so frustrated.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.