The future of the Statehouse seat held by former House Speaker Bobby Harrell remained in dispute Monday, with Democrats claiming the inside track for their candidate and Republicans vowing not to give up. “This isn’t over,” Charleston County GOP Chairman John Steinberger said. Earlier, it seemed Democrat Mary Tinkler was destined to become the representative for the Republican-leaning House District 114 seat anchored in West Ashley. The state Election Commission said the Nov. 4 election would go forward as planned, stipulating there is no chance Harrell can win or be considered.
Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said that even if Harrell gets the most votes, he is ineligible to serve because of his resignation last week after pleading guilty to ethics charges in state court. The winner would be the highest legal vote-getter. As a Democrat with the party apparatus behind her, Tinkler is the odds-on favorite over Green Party hopeful Sue Edward. “He can’t win,” Whitmire said of Harrell. “He’s not a viable candidate.”
Harrell resigned after he pleaded guilty to six counts of spending his campaign money for his own benefit.
Meanwhile, Republican leaders from the Charleston and Dorchester counties, which share District 114, have filed paperwork seeking to have the election postponed and the candidate filing period re-opened. That process can’t start until Harrell files a formal affidavit with the commission listing his reasons for leaving his seat.