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Pettigrew Election Protest Denied: "No Standing"

web posted November 22, 2012

COLUMBIA – Edgefield Republican John Pettigrew's election protest filed with the South Carolina Elections Commission has been dismissed stating that since Pettigrew was not a candidate in the general election he has "no standing" to file a protest of the election of Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield).
"There is no statutory provision allowing for a private citizen who was not a candidate in a general election to file an election protest. Therefore, you do not have a right to contest the general election for Senate District 25 because you were not a candidate in the General Election," read a letter sent to Mr. Pettigrew on Wednesday.  

Following the letter being released by the SC Election Commission, Pettigrew had the following comment about his filing. "I am extremely disappointed that the State Election Commission will not have the opportunity to hear my protest. The chairman and the executive director of the Commission, acting in concert, decided not to allow the full Election Commission to hear my case. This dismissal of my previously scheduled hearing occurred the day after Mr. Massey hired a former Election Commission attorney to represent him," Pettigrew said.

"It is my belief that the election laws which led to the removal of over 250 candidates statewide should also apply to Mr. Massey. His statement of Economic Interests on file was not current as it was filed in April 2011 and covered disclosures from 2010. This is another example of the special exceptions and laws that the incumbent legislators have created for themselves."

Sen. Shane Massey stated prior to the ruling, "John (Pettigrew) is upset. I understand that. Although he didn’t file his Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) correctly, kicking him – and many other candidates – off the ballot was harsh. I expect we’ll change the law shortly after session starts in January so that this debacle will never happen again." 

Sen. Massey continued, "But this protest goes beyond John being upset. He’s claiming that I didn’t have a current SEI on file when I signed up to run for re-lection. Fortunately, the law is pretty clear on this issue. Since I had a 2011 SEI on file and available for public review, I was required to submit a 2012 SEI by April 15, 2012. I filed my 2012 SEI on March 30, 2012. Therefore, I complied with the law. There’s just no basis for this protest that, unfortunately, is going to waste a lot of time and tax dollars."

As it turned out, it took the SC Election Commission very little time to dismiss Pettigrew's protest filed on Monday and ruled on Wednesday.

In a follow up email Sen. Massey said he did not expect this to be the last time Mr. Pettigrew continues the campaign against him. "We'll see what he comes up with next," Massey said.
You can read the letter sent to all parties involved on the ruling here. (.PDF file) 

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