The second of two Republicans removed from the ballot because of a decision by the State Supreme Court has announced that he will seek to run as a petition candidate in November.
Nine out of the 17 candidates that had filed to run in the June 12 primaries and/or the November general election were removed from the ballot by their respective parties after the court ruled earlier this month that candidates for public office must provide their party with a paper copy of their statement of economic interest regardless of whether it had already been filed electronically. The nine candidates in Union County were among the hundreds of Democrats and Republicans removed from the ballot across the state.
At the time of the court’s decision, 13 Democrats and four Republicans had filed to run in either the primaries and/or the general election. Among the Republicans was Marshal Adams who was running for Union County Sheriff. Adams, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination, would have faced the winner of the Democratic primary which pitted incumbent Sheriff David Taylor against former sheriff William Jolly. Both Adams and Jolly were removed from the ballot by their parties following the court’s decision, leaving Taylor without opposition in June and November.
The only option left for Adams, Jolly and the other candidates removed from the ballot is to run as a petition candidate in November. To quality as a petition candidate, a person must collect the signatures of 5 percent of the registered voters in their district.
Adams announced Tuesday that he will run as a petition candidate for sheriff. He said he began his drive to get the required number of signatures on his petition on Monday. While he only needs to get a little over 900 votes to qualify, Adams said he plans to get at least 1,500 signatures to ensure his place on the ballot.
Earlier this month, Jolly announced that he would run as a petition candidate for sheriff.
If successful in their respective bids to run as petition candidates, Adams and Jolly will once again transform the race for sheriff which began as a two-man race between Taylor and Jolly to be the Democratic nominee and face Adams in November, became a one-man race in November as a result of the court’s ruling, and would now become a three-man race in the general election.
Adams is the second Republican to seek to regain their place on the November ballot via a petition candidacy.
Ronda Adams-Palmer had filed to run as a Republican for the Union County Council District 3 seat currently held by Democrat Tommy Ford. When she and Adams were removed from the ballot, Union County Republican Party Chairman Mike Fowler said that Adams-Palmer had informed him she was already in the process of gathering signatures for a petition candidacy.
Also removed from the ballot in District 3 was Democrat Crystal Coffer. Coffer has not announced whether or not she will run as a petition candidate.
Ford is currently the only candidate on the ballot in District 3.
Other Petition Candidacies
In addition to Jolly, three other Democrats have announced plans to run as petition candidates. Like Jolly, two of them announced their intentions during a press conference held earlier this month at the headquarters of the Union County Democratic Party.
Union County Clerk of Court candidate Melanie Lawson was unopposed in the primary and would have been the party’s candidate against incumbent Freddie Gault who was himself unopposed for the Republican nomination. As in the case of the race for sheriff and the District 3 council seat, Lawson’s removal left the incumbent unopposed for reelection. At the press conference at the party headquarters, however, Lawson said she would run as a petition candidate.
The court’s decision was even more devastating in Union County Council District 2 where with no Republican running and all three Democrats removed from the ballot, left the district without any candidates for the seat. Of the three Democrats removed from the ballot, two — Curtiss Hunter and Ralph Tucker — have announced they will run petition candidacies. Hunter made her announcement during the press conference while Tucker announced his plans later that week. The third Democrat removed from the ballot, Frank Hart, has not announced his plans.
Also removed from the ballot was Ray Treadway who was running against incumbent Kacie Petrie for the Democratic nomination in Union County Council District 6. With no Republican running, Treadway’s removal also meant the incumbent was unopposed for reelection. Treadway has not announced whether or not he will run as a petition candidate.
Still On The Ballot
The court’s decision removed all but two of the challengers from the ballot.
John Rampey, who is running against incumbent Randall “Chump” Hanvey for the Democratic nomination in Union County Council District 5, is the only challenger left among the Democrats.
The only Republican challenger is Randall English who is running in the November general election against incumbent Democrat Mike Anthony for the SC House District 42 seat.
One Less Democrat
In addition to the havoc wreaked on the primaries and the general election, the court’s decision led Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair to leave the Democratic Party and declare himself no longer affiliated with any political party.
Sinclair, who was originally appointed supervisor as an independent, but ran as a Democrat in 2010, also called for the election of county officeholders on a nonpartisan basis. He said this would help avoid a repeat of the problems caused by the court’s decision and increase accountability of candidates and county government.