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Smith May Withdraw, Run as Independent Due to Filing
Guest Article by William "Bill" Smith
web posted May 10, 2012
EDGEFIELD – As many of you know, there are
questions in our state over who is considered a “certified” candidate
for the upcoming primary and eventually the November General
Election. It is a state wide issue that also reaches deep into
Edgefield County including my campaign. I have been asked many
questions about the future of my campaign and felt the need to give my
take on this debacle and answer any lingering questions.
As of the today (5/9/2012), I am a certified candidate by the South
Carolina Republican Party. With that said, there are still some
questions surrounding the Supreme Court ruling and how that affects my
On Wednesday, May 2nd, I received an email from Matt Moore, Executive
Director of the South Carolina Republican Party. It started off
by discussing the Supreme Court’s ruling and “directed the Republican
and Democratic Parties to ONLY certify non-exempt candidates (i.e.
candidates who did not already have a Statement of Economic interest on
file with the State Ethics Commission) who accompanied their Statement
of Intention of Candidacy with a Statement of Economic Interests when
they filed with their local party representatives”.
Under the court’s order, the political parties had to provide a list of
candidates who were eligible under this standard to the State Election
commission by noon on Friday, May 4th. Therefore, I was asked to
“email and respond with "Yes" or "No" before 2:00 pm on Thursday, May
3rd” whether I had turned in a Statement of Economic Interests form at
the time I declared my candidacy with the Edgefield County Republican
Party. My response to the email was under oath.
In speaking with the local party officials that evening, it was
determined that I was not going to be certified since the party had not
received a hard copy of my Statement of Economic Interest when I
filed. This was an oversight by the party statewide, not just
Weeks before on March 6, 2012, I filed my State of Economic Interest
online at the SC State Ethics Commission website. This was
completed several weeks before filing even opened for registering to
run for an office.
On Friday, March 23, 2012, I filed for candidacy with the Edgefield
County Republican Party as a candidate for the District 1 County
Council seat. I submitted my State of Intention form, Notice of
Candidacy and Pledge form, as well as my filing fee. I was asked
if I had filed my Statement of Economic Interests online but at no time
was I asked for a printed copy of my SEI.
Therefore, this was my response through email to the Executive Director
of the SC Republican Party: Even though I submitted everything
online in advance of the required date, I did not submit a hard copy to
the Edgefield County Republican Party when I filed.
On the evening of May 3rd, I received a reply to my email from the
Executive Director of the SC Republican Party that stated: We are
sending your name as certified, given that you filed an SEI before
filing for office - and therefore were an "exempt" candidate under the
law, as interpreted by our attorneys.
The interpretation by the state level Republican Party was that I would
be viewed the same as an incumbent since I filed my SEI before filing
(to run for office) even opened.
But the Supreme Court was very clear about two things: 1) file your SEI
online 2) submit a hard copy of the SEI to your party when registering.
I never submitted a hard copy.
As a candidate, I take full responsibility of that and place no blame
on the Edgefield County Republican Party. Even though many
attorneys state that I am certified, I do not meet the requirements of
the ruling by the SC Supreme Court under my interpretation.
There are hundreds around our state that are in the same exact
situation that I am in. They submitted their SEI online, filed
for candidacy, and are now certified by the Republican Party or
Democrat Party (this is an issue on both sides of the aisle).
Here is the main issue of concern for me. A party can certify you
and get you placed on the ballot. However, the SC Election
Commission can void your candidacy after the election if election rules
were violated. That is a chance I will not take as District 1 is
in need of a new representative. I cannot take a chance of
winning and then have the SC Election Commission void the
results. It is also an ethical issue.
Currently, the SC Senate is discussing a bill that would allow a window
of time in the next few weeks for candidates to file legally. I
am obviously in support of this as it would allow myself and others to
If this does not pass, I have no other options than to withdraw as a
Republican Candidate and file as a petition candidate. I cannot
allow myself to run as a Republican knowing that I am violating a
Supreme Court ruling. Again, I place no blame on anyone except
myself in not being knowledgeable of the law.
To be placed on a ballot as a petition candidate, I must collect
signatures of 5% of the registered voters in District 1 that voted last
election cycle. I would then be placed on the ballot as a
Either way, I will be on the ballot—ethically and legally.
My campaign has one goal: “To Restore the Voice of District
1”. Our goals are bigger than any political party
affiliation. This is our county, our home, and a place that our
children are growing up in.
Distractions can happen in campaigns and I want my supporters to
understand that we are pushing forward. District 1 needs
representation. County Councils main role is to serve the people
who elected them. The voice of District 1 has been lost and is
stifled by its current representative. It is past time to move
District 1 forward and the only way for me to represent you is to run
It is my ethical call to do this right. Period.
I tell my children at school every day you must always do the right
thing. As adults, we must set ethical standards not only because
it is the right thing to do but also to model for our youth how to
accomplish goals the right way, even if that path is less
traveled. They are always watching.
Even with this bump, my campaign is still gaining ground every
day. The support is amazing.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to
representing you in restoring the respect of our district.
William P. Smith
County Council District 1
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