Labor Party argues whether to put candidates on SC ballot

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina election officials are putting the names of Labor Party candidates for governor and U.S. House on November’s ballots despite a request from one of the party’s leaders to keep them off.

One co-chair of the Labor Party sent a letter to the South Carolina Election Commission with the names of the candidates, while the other called the party’s nomination convention a sham and said the party decided not to put anyone up for election, The Post and Courier reported.

The Election Commission asked the state Attorney General’s Office for a legal opinion on how to handle the dispute. But when the office refused saying it was not a legal issue, the commission looked at the wording of the law, agency spokesman Chris Whitmire said.

State law says the commission must put candidates on the ballot “if the names of the nominees are certified, in writing, by the political party chairman, vice-chairman, or secretary.”

The commission must take the certification from one Labor Party leader and has no authority to resolve the party’s dispute, the agency said.

The decision means Gary Votour of Columbia and his running mate, Harold Geddings of St. Matthews, will be on the ballot as the Labor Party’s gubernatorial ticket, while Lucus Faulk of Bonneau will be its candidate for the coastal 1st District in the U.S. House.

Labor Party co-chairman Willie Legette, who didn’t want their candidates on the ballot, said his group is exploring legal options.

Legette told the newspaper he thought the party decided in March to not run candidates because it didn’t want to take votes away from Democratic candidates,.

“In different circumstances and different conditions, we’d be willing to do that, but there’s just too much at stake at this present time,” Legette said.

(WATCH BELOW: Run-off election: Matthews wins Democratic US Senate nod in South Carolina)