The voters in Union County Council District 3 once again have three candidates to choose from.
At the beginning of May, there were two Democrats and one Republican running for the District 3 seat. Before the month was out, however, a decision by the State Supreme Court forced the Republican and one of the Democrats off the ballot. The Democrat was Chrystal Coffer and her removal from the June 12 primary left incumbent councilman Tommy Ford unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The Republican was Ronda Adams-Palmer and her removal from the Nov. 6 ballot meant that Ford would also be unopposed in the general election.
Shortly after they were removed both Coffer and Adams-Palmer announced that they would seek a spot on the November ballot as petition candidates. This required collecting the signatures of five percent of the registered voters in District 3 on a petition of candidacy which must then be certified by the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office. If the signatures are certified, the petitioner’s name is then placed on the November ballot.
On Friday, Union County Voter Registrar Darlene Pettit announced that Coffer’s petition had been certified and that she would be placed on November ballot as a petition candidate. Coffer, who collected 226 signatures on her petition of candidacy, welcomed the news and said that she is looking forward to campaigning for the District 3 seat.
“It was definitely a lot of work, a lot more footwork than just being put on the ballot as a Democrat or Republican candidate,” Coffer said Friday afternoon. “It was a lot of hard work getting out and knocking on doors and getting the signatures, but it wasn’t something that we minded doing at all. We enjoyed getting out and meeting the District 3 citizens. We’re definitely excited about it, we’ve been certified and we’re going to keep working hard to get the votes that we need for the November election.”
The certification of Coffer’s candidacy brings the number of candidates running for the District 3 seat back to three. Ford was already on the ballot as the Democratic candidate while Adams-Palmer’s petition of candidacy was certified earlier this month.
Coffer and Adams-Palmer were among 10 candidates in Union County removed from the ballot after the court ruled that candidates for public office must provide their party with a copy of their statement of economic interest regardless of whether it had been filed electronically. This forced the Democratic and Republican parties to remove hundreds of candidates throughout the state from the primary and general election ballots. In Union County, the court’s decision left only seven candidates on the primary and general election ballots, all but one of them incumbents.
In addition to Ford, the incumbents that remained on the ballot were SC House District 42 Rep. Mike Anthony, Union County Sheriff David Taylor, Union County Clerk of Court Freddie Gault, Union County Council District 5 Councilman Randall “Chump” Hanvey, and Union County Council District 6 Council Member Kacie Petrie. Gault is a Republican and the rest are Democrats.
Former school board member John Rampey, who was opposing Hanvey for the District 5 Democratic nomination, was the only non-incumbent left on the ballot.
Besides Coffer and Adams-Palmer, the candidates removed from the ballot were Randall English who was running as a Republican against Anthony; Melanie Lawson who was running as a Democrat against Gault; William Jolly who was opposing Taylor for the Democratic nomination and Marshall Adams who was running for sheriff as a Republican; and Ray Treadway who was opposing Kacie for the Democratic nomination in District 6. In Union County Council District 2, Democrats Curtiss Hunter, Ralph Tucker, and Frank Hart were removed from the ballot leaving voters there without a choice in the primary or in the general election as no Republicans were running in the district.
Since then, Hanvey defeated Rampey in the June 12 primary and has no Republican opposition in November. Like Coffer and Adams-Palmer, Lawson, Jolly, Hunter, Tucker, and Hart have returned to the ballot in their respective races as petition candidates. Treadway is still going through the certification process while English declined to run as a petition candidate.