Voters will cast ballots Tuesday for the seat once held by House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, after the S.C. Supreme Court halted a special election ordered by state election officials. The state Elections Commission ruled Thursday that Republicans could hold a primary after Election Day to find a new nominee. Commission members voted unanimously that Harrell was disqualified from the race, which opened the door for a special election. Harrell resigned and agreed not to seek office for three years as part of a guilty plea agreement last week on campaign-finance charges. Democrat Mary Tinkler, who is running for the contested House seat, filed an appeal with the state’s high court.
Her attorneys argued that state law did not allow nominating a party candidate after the scheduled general election, and that asking other candidates to halt their campaigns so close to Election Day to run against an unnamed challenger was “not equitable.”
The Supreme Court issued an order Friday placing a stay on the special election and allowing voting to move forward Tuesday with other races statewide.