A man thrown off the primary ballot says he is suspending efforts to run as a write-in candidate against Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell in the Nov. 6 election.
Even so, Darnell “Bubba” Johnson says he’s continuing his push to show the sheriff violated the same rule that got him kicked off the ballot.
“The situation is so volatile here in Orangeburg County as it relates to elections. Until we can get it straightened out, I will be suspending my campaign,” Johnson said.
In May, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled candidates who had not filed a paper copy of a Statement of Economic Interest, along with a Statement of Intention of Candidacy, by the deadline could not be on the June 12 primary ballot.
As a result, Johnson and about 200 other candidates across the state were removed from the ballot.
The court’s ruling did not affect all candidates. Incumbents had a different deadline to meet.
Johnson claims Ravenell missed the paperwork deadline in 2010 when he sought to fill the unexpired term of the late Sheriff Larry Williams.
Because of that failure, Johnson claims Ravenell could not have been elected sheriff and, therefore, had to meet the deadline for challengers, not incumbents, this time around. Johnson claims Ravenell did not.
The Democratic Party has said there’s no merit to his complaint.
Johnson also took the issue to the State Law Enforcement Division in an Aug. 16 letter. In a response dated Sept. 6, SLED said Johnson’s complaint “fails to meet the criteria established for a SLED investigation. SLED normally enters matters as described by you only after review by a solicitor or at the request of the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction.”
Johnson says he has since made complaints to the county solicitor, the governor’s office and the FBI.
“I have evaluated every means and no one has told me anything,” he said. “It is very frustrating.”
Ravenell did not immediately respond to the matter.