A federal judge denied a last-minute request to halt Tuesday’s primary elections. Five people who were thrown out of South Carolina’s primary had filed a request Monday in U.S. District Court in Columbia for a temporary restraining order. Judge Cameron Currie and two other federal judges denied the request following a 3 p.m. conference call with the plaintiff’s attorney and state lawyers. The judges will explain their denial in an opinion that will be issued later. The candidates in the lawsuit are Republicans Ann Smith, who was running for the Anderson County Council; Tommie Reece, who was running for state Senate in Greenville County; and John Pettigrew, who was running for state Senate in Edgefield County. They are joined by Democrats Bob Shirley, who was running for a state House seat in Calhoun Falls, and Robert Tinsley, who was seeking the solicitor’s office for Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and Newberry counties.
Attorney Candy Kern-Fuller submitted paperwork on their behalf Monday urging a federal judge to examine whether South Carolina properly followed restrictions under the Voting Rights Act. Anderson County GOP Chairman Dan Harvell said he was not convinced a lawsuit could have stopped the primary and called Kern-Fuller a “legal grandstander.”
“It seems to me that if she really wanted to make a difference in the primary she would have gotten this case together sooner instead of the day before the primary when chances are so minimal that she might have success,” Harvell said. The lawsuit named the state of South Carolina and the State Election Commission as defendants and asked that state primaries be delayed.