Tom Ervin, a former Greenville lawmaker and judge, said Friday that he has withdrawn from the Republican primary and will run for governor as a petition candidate.
"After considerable thought and prayer, I have decided to bypass the June 10th Republican primary in favor of a petition candidacy to place my name on the November general election ballot for governor," he said in a statement. "Like most South Carolinians, I’m a fiscal and social conservative with an independent streak. I’m running to reform state government and to restore executive competence, honesty and accountability -- especially as it relates to protecting our most vulnerable children in harm’s way."
Ervin, a 62-year-old attorney and radio station owner, said he needs more time to share his message and could not accomplish that in the short span before the primary.
"I believe South Carolina is ready for fresh new leadership and ready for a governor who cares about our people and not selfish political ambition," he said. "Both (Republican Gov.) Nikki Haley and (Democratic challenger) Vince Sheheen are career politicians. I’m a small business owner who will serve as governor and then return home to run my business."
He said he started gathering signatures of registered voters to have his name added to the November ballot as a "Republican petition candidate."
"I look forward to offering my vision for South Carolina as a Republican in the general election," he said.
Ervin, who joined the race late last month, has loaned his campaign $420,181, according to state records. He had $271,172 on hand after spending money on a consultant and automated robocalls. He did not list any outside contributors.
He started a six-figure radio ad campaign this week introducing himself to voters.