But Richard Hayes, chair of Dorchester County’s Democratic Party, suspects Carter is ineligible to continue his candidacy due to blatant errors in campaign filing records.
Hayes now formally challenges Carrol Duncan, chair of the county GOP, to produce the paper records of Carter’s Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) to validate his candidacy.
“Carter filed his SEI online before the candidate filing period actually began,” Hayes says. “Duncan let the county election commission think she got a paper copy of his SEI during the actual filing period, though.”
Hayes requests that Duncan provide him and/or local media with copies of Carter’s SEI and Statement of Intention of Candidacy.
According to records of the state Ethics Commission, Carter filed his SEI for this year’s campaign on March 13. (See image below.) Filing didn’t begin until two days later, however.
“If Duncan and Carter did this correctly, then they have the paperwork,” says Hayes. “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.”
Section 8-13-1356 of South Carolina’s Code of Law states: “A candidate must file a statement of economic interests for the preceding calendar year at the same time and with the same official with whom the candidate files a declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination.”
The Code’s Section 7-11-15 requires that such candidate registration occur “between noon on March sixteenth and noon on March thirtieth,” however.
As a result, Hayes asserts, the documentation of his March 13 filing could indicate Carter is ineligible to continue his campaign.
Two recent state Supreme Court decisions support Hayes’ claims, as well.
In its May 1 case, the court ruled: “We grant declaratory relief as follows: (1) that individuals not exempt who are seeking nomination by political party primary to be a candidate for office must file a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) at the same time and with the same official with whom the individuals file a Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC); (2) that an official authorized to receive SICs may not accept the forms unless they are accompanied by an SEI; (3) that an individual who did not file an SEI at the same time and with the same official with whom the individual filed an SIC should not appear on the party primary election ballot or the general election ballot(.)”
In its June 4 case, the court ruled: “(F)iling a paper copy of an SEI simultaneously with the filing of an SIC is the only method by which a non-exempt individual can comply with § 8-13-1356.”
“How could Carter have filed paper copies of the required documents simultaneously?” Hayes asks. “It’s public record he filed his SEI online two days early, and before any registration could be accepted.
“And since Carter filed it early, then how can Duncan have the dated paper copy of the SEI she’s supposed to have received and retained?"
Because all of Dorchester County’s Republican candidates, including Carter, remained on the June 12 ballots, Duncan apparently submitted no listing of decertification, Hayes assumes.
“Since she didn’t decertify any candidates, then that means she’s sworn to have the documentation,” he states.
“So let me say it one more time: either Duncan needs to put up or Carter needs to pull out.”