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Congressman Blasts Justices for Decision to Boot More Candidates from the Ballot

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U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan lashed out angrily at the S.C. Supreme Court this week, slamming the Justices for their decision to remove additional candidates from the 2012 primary ballot.

"What has happened in South Carolina is deplorable," Duncan wrote in an email to his constituents. "Through a technicality, the court has denied hundreds of people the right to run for office, and has essentially denied hundreds of thousands the right to participate in a free and fair election."

At least 20 candidates were booted from the ballot this week after the court claimed local Republican parties improperly certified them. As was the case with the nearly 200 candidates removed from the ballot last month, this latest round of candidates were booted for failing to file required income disclosure forms.

In Duncan's third congressional district, the entire slate of candidates in Oconee County was ruled ineligible -- prompting the local party to cancel its election.

"You deserve better, and I'm disgusted that such an injustice has taken place in our state," Duncan wrote. "The law is supposed to exist to protect the rights of the people, but instead the court has taken away people's rights."

With all due respect to Duncan, that's not exactly what happened …

For those of you who haven't been following this drama, what we're dealing with is rampant incompetence on the part of candidates, the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) and the state's two major political parties.

Basically, local party leaders and state government officials gave candidates terrible advice regarding when and how they were supposed to file their economic disclosure forms -- with the end result being that more than 200 of them failed to file these forms properly.

Anyway, this ongoing drama has produced one positive result -- a statewide petition effort that aims to work around the current two-party system to place many of these candidates on the ballot. In fact as we reported earlier this week, that effort is picking up steam in some parts of the state.

Of course as we've noted repeatedly throughout this process, it's not as if there was a much of an anti-incumbent slate in South Carolina prior to the court taking its machete to the ballot. In fact one of the state's most fiscally liberal "Republicans" went unchallenged in a GOP State Senate primary in Myrtle Beach, S.C. -- ostensibly a hot bed of Tea Party activity.

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