Platt trying for spot on November ballot

Eugene Platt

The State Election Commission will decide next week if state House District 115 candidate Eugene Platt may appear on the ballot this fall, but his odds appear dim.

Platt, who lost the June 10 Democratic primary to James Island lawyer Anne Peterson Hutto, hopes to run in November as a Green Party candidate.

Before he can run, he must clear two hurdles.

One, state law appears to prohibit candidates from running in a general or special election if they already have lost a primary race.

Two, Platt signed a pledge with the Democratic Party vowing that he wouldn't run again this fall.

As far as the pledge goes, Platt said Wednesday, "That was probably one of the papers that was presented to me along with the others.

"Obviously I signed it not knowing the full ramifications, not anticipating a situation like this. The Green Party feels such a pledge would not be enforceable."

Platt said he has resigned from the Democratic Party, and "I no longer consider myself as a Democrat."

State law might prove an even greater obstacle. The Election Commission staff cited a section of law indicating that Platt may not appear on the ballot since he lost his primary race, but the commissioners will consider the request on June 27.

If Platt loses, then Hutto will face only incumbent Republican Rep. Wallace Scarborough on Nov. 4.

Green Party organizer Gregg Jocoy said the commission's decision will set an important precedent, and he noted that Platt was nominated by the Green Party in May, a month before the Democratic primary.

"Our right to have our candidate on the ballot in November shouldn't be subordinated by the Democratic Party's decision who it wants on the ballot," Jocoy said. "Eugene's campaign is vital to the growth of the Green Party in the Lowcountry."

Platt, who has run for state and federal legislative seats and lost several times, said he is weighing whether to seek re-election as a James Island Public Service District commissioner at the same time he runs for the state House seat.