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South Carolina Republican Party Withdraws from Its Own Lawsuit Against Open Primary

On June 7, the South Carolina Republican Party withdrew from its own lawsuit, filed in 2010, to let the party exclude non-Republicans from voting in its primary. The case still has the Greenville County Republican Party as a plaintiff, but it is not clear that a county party has standing to challenge the law that lets all voters vote in any party’s primary. The case is Greenville County Republican Party v State of South Carolina, 6:10cv-1407.

On June 8, the state chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, Chad Connelly, resigned, even though he had been elected just a few months ago. It seems likely that the change in the party’s state chair may have something to do with the party’s change of mind about fighting the open primary. The new state chair, Matt Moore, is 31 years old and is believed to be the youngest state chair of a major party in the U.S. Thanks to Mike Drucker for the news.

One Response

  1. Jim Riley

    SB 2, the bill that fixed the filing of statements of economic interest, also provides a procedure that permits a political party to switch to nominating by convention.

    The claim by the South Carolina Republicans specifically refers to the 4th Circuit decision of Miller v. Brown “that state run open primaries are a violation of a political party’s right of free association if the state places restrictions on the party’s ability to nominate by other means such as a firehouse primary or by convention.”

    Once SB 2 becomes law, the only restriction on a party’s ability to nominate by convention, will be procedural. That is, the plaintiffs would need to prove that the procedure is too burdensome or onerous.

    The procedure requires a 3/4 vote of the state convention, and ratification by the primary voters.

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