COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Republican Party leaders are upset that independent candidate Tom Ervin addressed a group of Republicans in West Columbia.

The State newspaper reported that state party chairman Matt Moore said his staff called the First Tuesday Republican Club of Richland and Lexington counties to complain about the speech Tuesday.

The former Greenville lawmaker and judge filed originally to challenge Gov. Nikki Haley in the June 10 primary and then withdrew, saying he needed more time to reach voters.

Ervin has run television ads calling himself an independent Republican. He was a Democrat until 2005.

The state GOP has threatened to sue Ervin for calling himself a Republican.

He says the party is trying to take away his First Amendment rights. Ervin has been critical of Haley.

---

Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com