Politics & Government

SC ed superintendent candidate to withdraw over conviction reports, Dem chairman says

Israel Romero is running for state superintendent of education in SC
Israel Romero is running for state superintendent of education in SC Anderson Independent Mail

Israel Romero, the Democratic candidate for S.C. superintendent of education, plans to withdraw from the race after a report in the Independent Mail and The Greenville News revealed he was ineligible to run, according to Trav Robertson, chair of the S.C. Democratic Party.

“It is my understanding that he is withdrawing from the race today,” Robertson said.

On Tuesday, the Upstate newspapers reported Romero was not eligible to run for election because of a 2008 felony conviction.

More: South Carolina education superintendent candidate Israel Romero has felony conviction

“Israel Romero did, in Greenville County, willfully and unlawfully practice or solicit the cause of another person in a legal action without being admitted and sworn as an attorney,” according to the indictment from the 2008 case.

Romero presented himself as an attorney in federal court while trying to represent someone on an immigration case, according to an arrest warrant.

He was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution and served a little over three months in jail followed by a year of probation, according to the indictment and the Greenville County Department of Public Safety.

In 1996, South Carolina passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting convicted felons from running for office within 15 years of serving time.

Romero was challenging incumbent Republican Molly Spearman of Saluda for the position, which manages a multibillion-dollar budget and oversees school systems throughout the state that educate more than 750,000 students from prekindergarten through 12th grade.

Voters this year also will decide whether to make the state superintendent of education position appointed.

Romero has not responded to requests for comment since his conviction was reported.