No other Lowcountry election in recent memory has been as shaped by the courts as this year’s Senate District 41 race.
It began in a Columbia courtroom earlier this year, when Ken Ard pled guilty to ethics violations shortly after he resigned as South Carolina’s lieutenant governor.
Ard’s move forced Sen. Glenn McConnell to resign his Senate seat and fill the vacancy.
The courts continued to shape the race with a ruling that knocked almost all Republican District 41 hopefuls from the ballot because they failed to file a paper copy of an ethics form when they filed for office.
Former Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond survived through the June 12 primary, and while the courts later ruled him ineligible, they allowed Republicans to hold a new primary this fall, a race Thurmond won.
Democrat and former Charleston City Councilman Paul Tinkler said all the legal wrangling has been hard on him as well.
“It’s hard to run a campaign when you don’t know whether you’re going to have an opponent, and if so, who that opponent is,” he said.
Tinkler said he learned a lot by serving nine years with Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. If elected, Tinkler said he would push for ethics reforms, including abolishing the House and Senate ethics committees.
He said he would work to ensure the economic prosperity of the Charleston area and for repealing the 2006 property tax reform because it destabilized school funding.
Thurmond said when he served on County Council, he helped cut the size of government by $19 million, increased transparency, and created the atmosphere for $1.3 billion in economic investment and more than 7,000 jobs.
Thurmond said he would work to lower taxes, ensure the port’s success, improve education and reduce the burden government can place on businesses.
“We’ve worked very hard to get our message out: what I’ve accomplished and what our core campaign stands for, smaller government and less taxes,” Thurmond said.
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