Democrats Challenge GOP Nominee Carter's Filing
Dorchester County Democratic Party wants proof Republican candidate for S.C. House District 97 Ed Carter filed correctly; Carter rebuts 'We did everything right.'
As the Palmetto State staggered in the wake of decertification of non-incumbent candidates due to a Supreme Court ruling on filing, Dorchester County candidates were untouched.
But now, after a victory in the Republican primary Tuesday by S.C. House District 97 challenger Ed Carter, Dorchester County Democratic Party Chair Richard Hayes is questioning county Republican Party Chair Carroll Duncan on the validity of Carter's filings.
Carter will go on to face Democratic incumbent Rep. Patsy Knight in November's general election.
"It's called politics," Carter said in response. "That's what it is, and I'm going to tell you right now the Dorchester County Republican Party and especially (designated filing officer) Tony Piscatella should be congratulated for being out front and doing it right. Candidates are being kicked off the ballot all around us, and Tony did it right."
Hayes has formally challenged Duncan to produce the paper records of Carter’s Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) to validate his candidacy, claiming Carter filed three days too early based on online records. According to the rulings, a candidate must file the SEI and Statement of Intention of Candidacy simultaneously with the county party.
"Either Duncan needs to put up or Carter needs to pull out," Hayes said in a statement.
Carter said while he filed his SEI online three days early, he filed the paper records on time and simultaneously with his statement of intention. When Patch requested these documents from the county party, Piscatella said to obtain these documents, one needs to go through the state party.
The state party Executive Director Matt Moore emailed this response to Patch:
The state political parties are not government agencies, therefore these documents are not publicly available.Our county party chairwoman Carroll Duncan has attested to Mr. Carter's full compliance with state law and court orders. If the Democrats are complaining, it's because they have absolutely no chance at the ... seat in November.
Carter and county party officials maintain Carter's filing was done properly.
"I filed my statement of economic interest online, you can file it any time," Carter said. "A copy was filed with the party when I filed my candidacy. They have audited the records at least three times; we did everything right."
But Hayes has asked Duncan to provide him or local media with copies of Carter’s SEI and Statement of Intention of Candidacy. If it can’t be produced, he said, then Carter’s name needs to be removed from the ballots.
Duncan reiterated the state party's position to Patch.
According to records of the state Ethics Commission, Carter filed his SEI for this year’s campaign on March 13. Filing statewide didn't begin until March 16.
After an online SEI filing was successfully completed, a candidate was then to print the confirmation of its receipt by the state Ethics Commission. The printed copy, which lists the date of the filing, was then to be submitted simultaneously with other paperwork to a county’s party chair.
"If Duncan and Carter did this correctly, then they have the paperwork," Hayes said in a statement. "And since there’s already questionability found in the public records of his filing, then either Duncan needs to put up or Carter needs to pull out."
Updated 1:05 p.m. June 14 to correct filing open date from March 15 to March 16, and to add information from the state and county party.