from Adam Bream at the State Newspaper in Columbia, SC
Four S.C. counties have filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s high-profile “first in the South” Republican presidential primary.
In a lawsuit filed in the S.C. Supreme Court, the counties contend S.C. lawmakers cannot force local governments to spend taxpayer money on a private election – even if that election has the importance of the state’s primary.
If successful, the lawsuit would make it more difficult for state Republicans to hold their primary on Jan. 21, forcing the GOP to pay for it with private money.
The suit also would override state lawmakers, who this year overrode Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto to extend a 2008 law to spend public money for the 2012 primary.
Chad Connelly, chairman of the S.C. Republican Party, called the lawsuit “frivolous,” saying “state law is very clear that the state should oversee and run presidential primaries.” Matt Moore, the party’s executive director, added that “in no way is this primary in jeopardy” because of the lawsuit.
Support the First in the South Primary
There’s been a lot of talk recently about South Carolina and its “First in the South” Republican presidential preference primary.
Several local governments in the state have taken a “sky is falling” approach and decreed that their counties will not participate in January’s primary election because they aren’t going to foot the bill with taxpayer money.
On the one hand, bravo! At first blush, that’s a fiscally responsible decision, but when you dig just a little deeper, there’s so much more to the story that hasn’t been considered.
First, South Carolina is a “carve out” state. It has a special place on the Republican primary calendar because we 1) reflect the views of a large segment of the national voting population and 2) the sizes and costs of our media markets are affordable enough to create a playing field open to more candidates.
What does that have to do with anything?
Think about it. With several South Carolina counties, LARGE South Carolina counties, openly appearing to opt-out of the primary process or challenging the process in court over the past couple of weeks, presidential campaigns have been a little nervous to come here, and understandably so.
Sure, we have the “First in the South” primary, but top-tier candidates aren’t looking at that fact and saying, “The most effective use of my time, resources, and media dollars is in a state where the biggest counties won’t participate in the primary.”
Filed under: Columbia, Politics, South Carolina, State Politics | Tagged: Columbia South Carolina, First in the south, First in the south primary, FITS, gop, Nikki Haley, republican, South Carolina, South Carolina Republican Party, United States presidential primary |