Kevin Johnson’s name will appear on the November ballot as the Democratic candidate for Senate Dist. 36, according to Christopher P. Kenney, attorney for the South Carolina Democratic Party.
In a letter/e-mail to Marci Andino, executive director of the South Carolina Election Commission, dated June 15, Kenney stated that “it is the position of the South Carolina Democratic Party that:
In his letter, Kenney cites S.C. Code Section 7-11-15(2) which vests “exclusive authority to certify state Senate candidates with the state political party, not the county party.”
Kenney added, “Regardless of the view held by the Clarendon County Chair, he lacks the legal authority to make this determination for a state House or Senate race. That authority rests solely with the South Carolina Democratic Party. Therefore, I respectfully demand that your office take no action in response to the county chair’s request in this matter.”
Friday afternoon, Kenney said that he believes that the state Democratic Party has done its job properly.
“Our decision is consistent with the Supreme Court’s orders and state statutes,” Kenney said.
When contacted Friday afternoon about his response to the South Carolina Democratic Party’s letter, the Chairman of the Clarendon County Democratic Party Eleazer R. Carter said he continues to stand by his interpretation of the Supreme Court rulings.
“The Supreme Court made it clear that a candidate has to file a Statement of Economic Interest with the person he filed his Statement of (Intention of) Candidacy with,” Carter said. “That is clear. When you filed your SIC, you must file your SEI simultaneously on line and a paper copy to the filing officer. Did Kevin do that? No. They did not give a copy to me.”
Carter said that any decision to continue would lie with the members of the Clarendon County Democratic Party.
“I plan to hold a meeting with the Democratic Party to allow them to make a decision,” Carter added. “I will let my ideas weigh-in.”
Carter said he was “almost forced” to follow up on the state Democratic Party’s ruling because of his obligations as an officer of the county’s party.
“I have a duty and an obligation as the party chair,” Carter said. “I am also a candidate. I will not let that impact my obligation and my duty. I will not allow that to influence my decision.”
Johnson said he was pleased to have a ruling from the state Democratic Party.
“I am exempted by law,” he said. “The only thing that can change my candidacy is a court ruling. Section 8-13-1536(A) states that a public official is exempt from filing a SEI.”
Johnson also added that Section 8-13-1536(E) also states that “the receiving official is not authorized to accept an SIC from any candidate without receiving their SEI at the same time.”
“You might find Section 8-13-1536(E) interesting which makes it clear that by law, you as the receiving official were not authorized to accept an SIC from any candidate without receiving their SEI at the same time.”
Click here to see the complete correspondence between Eleazer Carter, Christopher Kenney and Marci Andino.