COLUMBIA, SC — Tom Ervin, a Greenville lawyer who describes himself as an "independent Republican," dropped off a petition at the S.C. Election Commission office Monday with twice as many signatures needed to get on the ballot in the November gubernatorial election.
Ervin said he collected 20,137 signatures for his planned run against Republican incumbent Nikki Haley, Democrat Vincent Sheheen, Libertarian Steve French and United Citizens candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves. He needs 10,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.
The former state lawmaker and judge filed to run in the Republican primary in March but dropped out soon after to pursue a bid as a petition candidate to have more to time to campaign. The primary is Tuesday.
Ervin, who also owns radio stations, said he decided to run after hearing about allegations of mismanagement at the S.C. Department of Social Services, a cabinet agency under Haley.
GOP critics point to Ervin spending years as a Democrat before his 2005 conversation to the Republican party and his wife's support of Democratic candidates including Sheheen's 2010 gubernatorial bid. State GOP officials have tried to stop Ervin from speaking at local party events.
Ervin started his campaign with $420,181 on his own money and aired a radio and television advertisement.