Saturday, August 4, 2018

South Carolina Democratic Nominee for Governor Asks for Green Party Nomination as Well

Ballot Access News

On June 12, South Carolina state representative James Smith won the South Carolina Democratic nomination for Governor. He won a 3-person race with 61.8% of the vote, so no runoff was needed.
South Carolina permits fusion, but unlike other fusion states, South Carolina has perils for candidates who file for the nomination of more than one party. Section 7-11-10 says, “No person who was defeated as a candidate for nomination to an office in a party primary or party convention shall have his name placed on the ballot for the ensuing general or special election.” In 2008, when a Green Party member, Eugene Platt, filed for the Green and Democratic nomination for State Representative, he had lost the Democratic primary for that office when the Green Party then nominated him in convention. The State Election Commission kept him off the November ballot as a Green nominee, because he had lost the Democratic primary. The Green Party sued but lost. South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina State Election Commission, 612 F 3d 752 (4th circuit 2010).
UPDATE: Eugene Platt says that he was nominated by the Green Party before he lost the Democratic primary. FURTHER UPDATE: reportedly, Smith has withdrawn his quest for the nomination of any of the three minor parties that he had originally been interested in.

This year, James Smith filed for the nomination of the Working Families, Green, and Libertarian Parties. He will have no trouble getting the Working Families nomination in convention, and he withdrew his Libertarian application on August 3. As to the Green Party nomination, the Green Party was not notified of the paperwork, and already held its nominating convention in May and didn’t nominate anyone for Governor. However, the party will have another state committee meeting on August 5, and could nominate him then. It is unclear whether Smith’s Democratic nomination is in peril if the Green Party doesn’t nominate him for Governor.

It is possible to interpret the law so that Smith is not in peril. The Fourth Circuit opinion said, “Because the Election Commission applied the sore-loser statute after Platt’s loss in the Democratic primary, thereby preventing him from appearing on the general election ballot as the Green Party’s nominee, he was ‘disqualified’ as a ‘party nominee’ after his ‘nomination.'” But in Smith’s case, he had won the Democratic nomination before the Green Party will have considered whether to also nominate him, and even if the Green Party declines to nominate him, that is a different sequence of events from the 2008 Platt example.
Thanks to Dave Gillespie and Scott West for this news.

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