South Carolina Republicans reject 2018 Democratic Governor nominee’s bid to be judge

Republicans in the South Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday took the rare move of rejecting the only remaining candidate in a race to be a circuit judge — the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor.

James Smith’s nomination became an issue in recent days. When his unopposed nomination came up, Republican House Majority Leader Davey Hiott asked to send the race back to the Judicial Merit Selection Commission, which screens candidates.

Several Democrats said the move was unprecedented. But they could not stop it with parliamentary requests and overwhelmingly lost a vote on mostly party lines.

Smith and Columbia lawyer Justin Williams were both found qualified by the screening panel, but Williams dropped out of the race in January. Candidates often drop out when they determine their opponent has the support and likely votes of a majority of the 170-member General Assembly.

Republicans, who make up a supermajority in the House and a near supermajority in the Senate, recently started to scrutinize Smith’s positions on abortion.

Smith spent more than 20 years in the South Carolina House before his unsuccessful run for Governor. He is an Afghanistan war veteran.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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