By Paul Gable
The election day that we weren’t sure was going to happen is now upon us.
With nearly 300 candidates wiped from the ballot due to their failing to file required paperwork properly and several unsuccessful attempts at the state court level to have at least some of them restored, one last ditch effort was attempted yesterday at the federal court level to hold off the election.
It only took hours for a three judge panel to decline to issue an injunction holding off the primary. According to reports, the judges met in a conference call and denied to hear the case.
It was a long stretch to attempt to find standing in federal court for the five plaintiffs that filed the case. They were all candidates, some from each party, who were tossed from the ballot earlier due to irregularities with their paperwork.
We can’t help but believe that this effort in federal court resulted from the realization that a petition candidacy is very hard work with little chance of successfully obtaining a place on the November ballot.
One common theme has run through the candidate filing controversy ad nauseum from the close of filing March 30th until today. That has been continued attempts by the parties at the county and state levels to certify candidates who filed improperly. Every time a case went to court, more candidates were lost.
A determination to get around the law and court rulings, find some exception, create some new legal theory or just simply do what they wanted to do instead of what the law and courts required has predominated. Arrogance at the party level on both sides of the aisle has been the rule.
So now we move forward. One interesting statistic to watch will be the number of election challenges that occur after today’s voting is over. There still seems to be candidates on the ballot today who are not qualified to be there.
We have had reports of candidates in the upstate bragging that they didn’t file their paperwork in accordance with state law and two state Supreme Court rulings, but are still on the ballot today.
Will they be challenged after the voting or will their status remain unknown?
As to the balloting itself, look for an extremely low voter turnout because there are so few contested races statewide. We are predicting around 12 percent of the registered voters statewide will actually show up at the polls today to vote. Dismal!
The race that was expected to generate interest is the one taking place today for the new 7th Congressional District. Thirteen candidates, nine Republicans and four Democrats, will be on the ballot looking to gain their party’s nomination for the November general election.
However, even this race looks to be marred by low turnout on both sides. None of the candidates has seemed to generate much excitement.
We spoke with former Congressman John Jenerette last week. Jenerette represented the former 6th Congressional District from 1975-81. He is the only Horry County native ever elected to Congress. Horry County is the largest county both in size and population in the new district.
The 6th District Jenerette represented very closely resembles the new 7th District in geographical makeup. Asked if he expected more excitement about the race for the new seat in the House of Representatives, Jenerette said he was very surprised that no candidate has created any real buzz among voters.
That will be the overriding theme this election day – no buzz among voters. It has been very hard to take this election cycle seriously. It seemed like the election mess that would never end. A mess like this is more expected in some third world banana republic – or is it?