SCGOP, Chairman On Same Page After Meeting
Chairman Chad Connelly given authority to intervene in ballot issues.
The South Carolina Republican party is “unified” according to Executive Director Matt Moore after a session between the party’s executive committee and chairman Chad Connelly on Tuesday night in Columbia.
The meeting was called after the executive committee expressed concerns about Connelly’s intervention in the race for the District 3 house seat in Pickens County. As a result of the meeting, the executive committee will now support Connelly’s decision.
In the District 3 race, incumbent B.R. Skelton was narrowly defeated by Ed Harris in the primary on June 12. After his loss, Skelton filed an appeal with the executive committee, accusing Harris of filing improperly and therefore being ineligible. But the executive committee rejected Skelton’s claim and re-affirmed Harris as the nominee.
However, last week, with Skelton threatening to take his case to court, Connelly named Skelton the winner. The state GOP has already suffered two defeats in front of the Supreme Court and had Connelly had little taste in trying a third time.
Harris’ attorney, Stephen Brown, told Patch that he now has a decision to make. Brown said that Harris likely has gathered enough signatures to qualify as a petition candidate and be listed as an independent. Or he can sue the state GOP, and try to get on the ballot as the Republican nominee. In doing so, he would be suing the party of which he is a member. “It’s a personal and political choice,” Brown said of Harris’ decision.
In addition to backing Connelly in District 3, the executive committee gave him the power to make similar decisions in the “party’s best interests” without prior approval. While no cases were mentioned specifically by sources who spoke to Patch, the move would appear to pave the way for Connelly to make step in in other ballot questions throughout the state and avoid more court appearances. Such a case could very well be in Dorchester Co., where, as Patch reported Tuesday evening, the county GOP bumped a winning candidate from the ballot.