South Carolina’s Election Commission expects to have plans in place for running the first-in-the South presidential primary by October, the agency said Wednesday.
The primary’s funding and fate were put in doubt by state budget writers and Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of money for the contest. The Legislature overrode the veto last week and the state’s attorney general says the Election Commission can run the primary and bill the state Republican Party.
That will happen under a contract the state will discuss, draft and commit to by October, Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said.
The state GOP is working to pull details and money together, party executive director Matt Moore said. “We’re working closely with the Election Commission to run an outstanding primary that the world will watch next February,” Moore said.
The budget that took effect last week allows the commission to use cash left over from the 2010 elections to cover its regular costs, including next year’s Statehouse primaries and the presidential primary. Whitmire said it remains unclear how much of that $680,000 might be available.
The commission estimates the presidential primary will cost about $1.5 million and the state GOP will make up the difference.