COLUMBIA — The S.C. Republican Party still faces $340,000 in debt related to last year’s statewide wipeout of more than 250 candidates from the ballot.

The S.C. GOP’s executive director, Alex Stroman, said the party hopes to have the loan, which was used to cover legal fees related to the ballot mess, paid off soon.

“Truthfully, we are still trying to recover,” Stroman said. “We’re trying to chip away at that.”

Stroman said the party has been working on a fundraising plan to address the debt, and likely will launch the campaign following the party’s annual Silver Elephant dinner on May 3.

“It will be a very large focus to be in a position so next year or 10 years from now, we won’t have to worry about it,” he said.

Stroman said the party has not had to reduce staffing due to the debt, but the party does have fewer staff than last fall because of typical reductions between elections, he said.

The party does not have a specific estimate of when the loan will be paid off, Stroman said. In recent years, the S.C. GOP’s annual budget has been about $1 million, party officials have said.

The S.C. Democratic Party didn’t face the same issue last fall because outgoing Chairman Dick Harpootlian’s law firm covered the majority of the legal costs of ballot cases. The mass of candidates were removed from the ballot due to confusion stemming from financial disclosure filing requirements.

After the first quarter of 2013, the S.C. GOP had $6,777 in contributions on hand compared with $23,244 for S.C. Democrats, according to new filings with the State Ethics Commission.