After Rick Quinn pleaded guilty to misconduct in office and stepped down as South Carolina State House District 69 Representative, a special election was announced to replace him.
On Tuesday, one of the candidates running to replace Quinn also pleaded guilty to a crime, and was sentenced to serve time behind bars. It was totally unrelated to any political corruption, but is nonetheless serious.
Christopher Glen Raines, 43, pleaded guilty to unlawful communication, according to the Lexington Police Department.
Raines, aka “AJ Blues,” is the Lexington man with a history of threatening River Bluff High School students and staff, including posting messages and videos on social media about putting them in body bags.
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Yes, the man currently serving a 15-day sentence at the Lexington County Detention Center is running for Quinn’s vacated seat.
Yes, the name officially appearing on the ballot is AJ Blues, according to the South Carolina Election Commission. On his statement of intention of candidacy and party pledge he signed as Chris Raines and AJ Blues.
Raines filed to run for the vacant House seat on Jan. 4. That was almost four weeks before pleading guilty to his charge to receive a lesser sentence. Raines will serve 15 days instead of 30 for the charge, according to the police.
He is scheduled to be released Feb. 15, and the primary election for the District 69 seat will take place Feb. 27. The general election to pick Quinn’s successor to serve the remainder of his term through 2018 will be held May 1.
Raines is running as a Libertarian, the only non-Republican in the field that currently includes six candidates. In addition to Raines, Joel Deason, Anne Marie Eckstorm Green, Alan Ray, Michael Weaver and Chris Wooten have officially filed.
They are all seeking to represent the heavily Republican district which includes West Columbia, Oak Grove, the town of Lexington, the southeast shore of Lake Murray and the St. Andrews area.
When Quinn stepped down, Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall said “people are fed up with this umbrella of corruption.” Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce president Otis Rawl agreed that candidates’ integrity will be “a big point” in the race.
If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine Raines having much of chance of being elected.
Raines made a series of verbal and written threats of violence on his Facebook and Twitter pages, along with numerous videos posted on his YouTube page from Aug. 17-Sept. 17, 2017, authorities said. He was arrested Sept. 18.
“This week’s prediction: RBHS students killed this week while committing crimes on private property,” Raines said Sept. 17, 2017 on Facebook and Twitter, according to police.
In a YouTube post, Raines shared a video of himself in his yard with a bow and arrow using explosive arrowheads, which are designed to use .357 or .38 Special ammunition, authorities said.
During these videos, police said, Raines made reference to students being put into body bags.
According to Lexington County tax records, Raines is listed as a co-owner of a residence on Mill Stream Road, approximately a mile from River Bluff High. That was the address that appeared on his official election paperwork.
Before this charge, Raines had a criminal record that involves alcohol, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
He has convictions on DUI from 1998 and 2002, possession of LSD in 2004 and public drunkenness in 2001.
More recent charges in 2011 and 2012 that involve criminal domestic violence and DUI have not been resolved according to SLED’s data.
State House District 69 Representative Special Election
Anne Marie Eckstorm Green