A former candidate for Beaufort County Council who was bumped from the June 12 Republican primary for filing a financial form late is now running as an independent.
During the past several weeks, Dan Duryea and his supporters have collected about 400 of the roughly 450 signatures he'll need to qualify for the November ballot as a petition candidate in District 7. He aims to have at least 600 signatures before the July 16 filing deadline.
"Hopefully, that gives me enough of a cushion for errors and omissions," Duryea said Monday.
Scott Marshall, executive director of Beaufort County Board of Elections and Registration, said petition candidates must collect signatures from 5 percent of the registered voters in their district to get on the ballot.
The final number of signatures required will be set in early July and is based on the number of voters who live in the district 120 days before the Nov. 6 election.
Duryea, 62, of Rose Hill, was one of 248 people across South Carolina who were kicked off the primary ballot for filing a "statement of financial interest" form after registering as a candidate.
Duryea submitted his disclosure form more than a month after he registered with the Beaufort County Republican Party and did not provide a paper copy at the time he filed. The law requires candidates to submit the form with other election paperwork.
Cynthia Bensch, a Republican and former S.C. Election Commissioner, is the only candidate to qualify so far to be on the fall ballot in District 7. The district was redrawn after the 2010 Census and includes the Bluffton-Okatie area south of U.S. 278, west of S.C. 170 and north of S.C. 46.
A longtime Republican with the membership card to prove it, Duryea admits it won't be easy to win as a petition candidate. Among the challenges, he said, is convincing people not to vote a straight-party ticket.
Duryea won't receive any support from the party if he qualifies for the ballot, said Jim Dickson, state executive committeeman for the Beaufort County Republican Party.
"That's the awful part of it," he said. "Dan is a Republican, and he's an excellent guy who in my opinion would make an excellent county councilman. We would have been thrilled to have him as a candidate ... but from an official standpoint, we cannot support him."
Although "there is a lot more effort required" to be a petition candidate, Marshall said some have succeeded.
Doug Henderson, who won the 2010 Beaufort County treasurer race as a petition candidate, is the most recent example.