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SC politics: Tom Ervin will be on November ballot for governor

07/24/2014 11:00 PM

07/25/2014 7:21 AM

Ervin will be on November ballot for governor

The S.C. Election Commission has certified Tom Ervin’s spot on the November ballot as a petition candidate for governor.

Ervin’s campaign released a letter Thursday from the commission confirming his candidacy. The 62-year-old former legislator and judge dropped out of the Republican primary to pursue being on the general election ballot as a petition candidate. That requires gathering the signatures of at least 10,000 registered voters.

Ervin turned in more than 20,000 signatures last month. The commission’s letter dated Wednesday verifies that he collected more than enough valid signatures.

Ervin’s name will appear second on the ballot in the gubernatorial race, above the names of Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

The ballot’s order for party and petition candidates rotates every election.

Libertarian Steve French and Citizens United candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves also are on the November ballot.

Boykin to lead agency overseeing employee benefits

Leadership has come full circle at the agency that manages the retirement benefits and health insurance of S.C. public workers.

By a 10-0 vote Thursday, Peggy Boykin was named the new director of the Public Employee Benefits Authority. Boykin has been a board member of the agency since legislators created it in 2012. She recused herself from the vote.

Between 2002 and 2011, Boykin was the director of the authority’s predecessor, the S.C. Retirement Systems, a division of a larger agency chaired by the governor. Boykin was removed soon after Gov. Nikki Haley took office, with Haley saying new leadership was needed.

Board chairman Art Bjontegard said Boykin, a certified public accountant, was chosen from among more than 85 applicants after a national search.

He called her a smart consensus builder with “great political instincts,” which he considers critical to leading an agency that answers to the Legislature.

Bjontegard also said Boykin is well-liked by employees, noting many lobbied for her selection. Her first day in the new role will be Monday.

Under the 2012 law that created the Public Employee Benefits Authority as a stand-alone agency, the 11-member board that oversees it must include four beneficiaries of the state retirement plan. Boykin was appointed by House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, to fill one of those seats.

Boykin worked for the S.C. Retirement Systems for 20 years. The Wagener native since has worked as a special projects director for the College of Charleston, her alma mater.

Her new salary will be set by the state’s Agency Head Salary Commission. The agency’s acting director was paid $129,000.

The Associated Press

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A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to Follow The Buzz @buzzatthestate. Follow Cassie @cassielcope. Follow Jamie @jamiemself. Follow Andy @andyshain.

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