- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The South Carolina Republican Party was sued this month for canceling its GOP presidential primary for the 2020 election.

The lawsuit, obtained by The Post and Courier, argues that the party broke its own rules and state law when it “unilaterally and unlawfully” nixed plans to hold a primary next year.

It was filed by two voters, Bob Inglis and Frank Heindel, who said they were stripped of their rights to vote in a “particularly influential” election as South Carolina is one of the first primary states.

The lawsuit acknowledged that South Carolina law does not require parties to hold primaries, but it does maintain that they implement “certain democratic safeguards” by ensuring voters support their decision.

“But the State Executive Committee has not complied with any of the democratic safeguards required by both South Carolina law and Republican Party rules,” the lawsuit reads. “Instead, the State Executive Committee has chosen which candidate to support by fiat, and in doing so, excluded Republican voters from the process entirely — in violation of the law and its own rules.”

In a statement to The Washington Times, a spokesman for the state party said it doesn’t comment on pending legal matters.

When the party made its decision last month, SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick issued a statement saying there was no need to hold a primary and there was precedent set by both Republicans and Democrats.

“With no legitimate primary challenger and President Trump’s record of results, the decision was made to save South Carolina taxpayers over $1.2 million and forgo an unnecessary primary,” he said at the time.

President Trump’s three primary challengers — former Rep. Mark Sanford, former Gov. Bill Weld and former Rep. Joe Walsh — have been outspoken against the state’s decision not to have a primary race.

Mr. Sanford, who used to be a South Carolina congressman, celebrated the lawsuit on Twitter, saying it would make the Founding Fathers proud.

“South Carolinians have enjoyed a disproportionate voice in the American political system for many years because of our “First in the South” primary status,” he wrote. “The idea of having that voice taken away by a few folks in a back room is an affront to the notion of ‘one man, one vote.’”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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