- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The state Election Commission has reopened the race to replace former Rep. Edward Southard after he withdrew as part of an ethics agreement.

Commissioners decided Southard withdrew for a “legitimate, nonpolitical reason,” as defined by law.

Spokesman Chris Whitmire said Monday candidates for all parties can file for the Berkeley County seat between June 28 and July 5.

Any necessary primaries will be July 19.

Last week, the House Ethics Committee found the 69-year-old Republican from Moncks Corner violated the chamber’s no harassment policy and fined him $2,000.

Southard resigned April 27 but remained on the ballot unopposed. The settlement required he not seek re-election in November.

If commissioners had voted no Friday, the petition process would have been the only way for candidates to get on the ballot.

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