Parties scramble to make election deadline

Greenville County Democrats and Republicans have had to scramble to develop a process for nominating candidates for the House District 25 seat vacated last week by the death of Charles “Chick” Rice.

The state law mandating the Dec. 6 special election to fill the post doesn’t allow enough time for a primary process to select certified candidates by the election law deadline of Nov. 21, officials for both parties said.

County Democratic Executive Committee members earlier this week agreed to a two -step process which would have the eight precinct executive committee members in House District 25 nominate candidates.

The 122-member executive committee for the whole county then will select a candidate from the nominees, said Billy Webster, county chairman for the Democratic Party.

County Republican Executive Committee members met Thursday to develop a similar proposal. County Chairman Mike Spivey said the Republican executive committee will meet Nov. 3 to pick a nominee.

Spivey said potential nominees will have until noon on Nov. 3 to file at the county headquarters. Those filing will be given five minutes that night to make speeches to the executive committee.

Webster said, “Chick’s death came at a very novel time. We’ve never had a case like this where we do not have enough time for a primary.”

He said state law makes it impossible to have time for a primary with the required fun-off and challenge period before the Dec. 6 election.

Webster said the executive committee members from House District 25 will meet Monday to set filing periods and deadlines for nominations.

The two-step process for nomination allows the House District a chance for nominating people who will represent them, yet having a vote by all committee members “broadens the process” so that more than eight people vote, Webster said.

Republican Chairman Mike Spivey said his party explored “every way humanly possible to do a primary.”

“Most people don’t like the idea of people outside the district voting on the nominee from the district,” Spivey said. “This is a pivotal House seat which could very well determine which party controls the county delegation.”