The South Carolina Election Commission accepted Alan Clemmons’ affidavit that he resigned his House seat for non-political reasons. A special primary will be held to replace Clemmons on the November general election ballot.
Filing for the special primary will begin at noon July 28, 2020 and end at noon August 4, 2020. The special primary election will be held on August 18, 2020 in House District 107 voting precincts. There was no Democratic opposition for nomination to this seat in the regular primary elections but Democrats have the option of filing for a special primary election in the same filing period.
By Paul Gable
Five weeks after winning the Republican Primary nomination for House District 107, Alan Clemmons notified S. C. House Speaker Jay Lucas today he was resigning the seat he has held for nine terms.
In his resignation letter, Clemmons cited demands of his law practice and a desire to concentrate more time with his family as reasons for his resignation. The resignation triggers a special primary election for the House District 107 seat.
Clemmons must now submit an affidavit to the State Election Commission that his resignation is for non-political reasons, such as those stated above. When that affidavit is accepted by the election commission, notice of a special primary election will be given with the applicable dates for that event.
This reporter contacted Sandy Martin, Director of the Horry County Voters Registration and Election Office, for the possible time frame of the special election. According to Martin, if Clemmons’ affidavit is accepted by the state election commission on or before July 25, 2020, the filing period for the special primary election would be August 4 – 11, 2020. However those dates are subject to change based on the timing of the Clemmons affidavit.
Martin confirmed that the Clemmons’ resignation will trigger a special election. She said the notification of the dates for filing will be placed in the Sun News after she receives notification from the election commission that the affidavit has been accepted.
However, if only one candidate should file for the special election, the SCGOP would have the option to nominate that candidate for the general election on November 3, 2020.
Case Brittain, Clemmons’ opponent in the recent June primary, has already stated his intent to file for the special election primary as soon as filing opens.
There has been some confusion in the media about the need for a special primary election. Columbia internet outlet Fits News erroneously reported that there wasn’t time for a special election before the general election and that the SCGOP would appoint a replacement nominee for the resigning Clemmons. Fits News cited unnamed state election officials for that information.
State law, however, contradicts that statement. Below is the section of state law applicable to the special election requirement:
“SECTION 7‑11‑55. Substitution of candidates when nominee selected by primary election.
If a party nominee dies, becomes disqualified after his nomination, or resigns his candidacy for a legitimate nonpolitical reason as defined in Section 7‑11‑50 and was selected through a party primary election, the vacancy must be filled in a special primary election to be conducted as provided in this section. The filing period for this special primary election opens the second Tuesday after the death, disqualification, or approval of the resignation for one week. The special primary election then must be conducted on the second Tuesday immediately following the close of the filing period. A runoff, if necessary, must be held two weeks after the first primary. The nomination must be certified not less than two weeks before the date of the general election. If the nomination is certified two weeks or more before the date of the general election, that office is to be filled at the general election.
If the nomination is certified less than two weeks before the date of the general election, that office must not be filled at the general election but must be filled in a special election to be held on the second Tuesday in the month following the election, provided that the date of the special election to be conducted after the general election may be combined with other necessary elections scheduled to occur within a twenty‑eight day period in the manner authorized by Section 7‑13‑190(D).
The procedures for resigning a candidacy under this section for legitimate nonpolitical reasons are the same as provided in Section 7‑11‑50.
Where the party nominee was unopposed, each political party registered with the State Election Commission has the privilege of nominating a candidate for the office involved through a special primary election in the same manner and under the same procedures stipulated by this section.”