The South Carolina Republican Party announced Monday that it would not cover all costs associated with the 2012 presidential primary as previously promised. According to The State, SC GOP Executive Director Matt Moore said the decision came following an expensive Supreme Court case, in which four South Carolina counties attempted to block the primary.
Because the counties took the case to court, they also allowed the justices to rule on who should fund the primary. According to Moore, the Court ruled that only the state and county election commissions could be involved in running the primary, and thus the GOP need not supply additional funding.
State Election Commission spokeman Chris Whitmire said the commission was not suprised by the GOP’s decision to change its position in light of the Supreme Court decision, despite the fact that the state election commission and GOP were on the same side of the lawsuit.
“We, particularly after the hearing, recognized it as a possibility that the party could come back and say, ‘Hey, the law says you have to conduct [the primary], so it’s your responsibility and we’re going to step back,'” Whitmire said.
The Republican Party now plans to provide $180,000 towards the primary, money raised strictly from candidate filing fees.
The General Assembly budgeted $680,000 from the state budget and Whitmire said he expected the election commission to have about $850,000 available for the primary without any GOP help.
But the total cost to run the primary is estimated around $1.5 million, which could leave the state more than $500,000 short of what it needs.
The primary must be held regardless of funding difficulties, Whitmire said, so the election commission is continuing its plans to hold the election while contacting the Budget Office for advice.