SC GOP clears challenger to run against Jake Knotts in primary

05/16/2012 9:01 PM

05/16/2012 10:26 PM

After hearing an passionate speech by Gov. Nikki Haley, the S.C. GOP executive committee voted on Wednesday that Katrina Shealy can run in the June 12 Republican primary against state Sen. Jake Knotts of Lexington.

Haley, a Shealy supporter, told the committee that she was not trying to influence their decision, but she was sickened by the partisan bickering of the hour-long hearing.

"I want to have fresh faces, fresh voices in that building over there. If you want to fix it, you can," Haley said just before the committee spent 1 1/2 hours deliberating. "When I go out of that door, I want to be proud of my state."

A state Supreme Court decision led to the removal of Shealy and 180 other candidates who failed to submit a written statement of economic candidates on time.

Shealy said she completed a written form but was not asked to submit it when she filed for office at the West Columbia Shoney's. Shealy said she filed the form online and thought she had submitted it, but state election officials say they have no record of her computer filing, according to testimony Wednesday.

Party workers who took Shealy's forms said she did not hand in the form. Shealy's attorney, Tommy Cofield, pointed out that the Lexington County GOP filing chairwoman who took her candidate forms, Mickey Lindler, was a friend of Knotts. Shealy lost a hotly contested race against Knotts, a 17-year veteran of the legislature, in 2008.

Asked by Cofield if she sabotaged Shealy's filing, Lindler said "no sir."

Despite rejecting claims by other two candidates about missing paper economic statements, party officials said they voted to certify Shealy because she said she brought the form when she filed.

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