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Barring a weekend surprise, Lake Wylies seat to York County Council should have two candidates again.
John Rinehart submitted more than 1,300 signatures to county election officials Friday morning, needing just more than 1,000 to put his name on the November general election ballot.
I had to call the volunteers this morning and ask them to stop (collecting signatures), Rinehart said at an announcement Friday at Courtneys Barbecue in Clover.
Rinehart was one of hundreds of candidates statewide left off of state ballots earlier this year when paperwork wasnt filed properly. Leaving only incumbent Bruce Henderson for the York County Council Dist. 2 seat, which represents Lake Wylie. More than 40 volunteers, Rinehart said, helped collect signatures.
We saw a tremendous challenge before us, but we also saw an opportunity, Rinehart said.
Both Henderson and Rinehart are running on an economic development platform, vowing to bring quality jobs to the area. Both have participated in debate events, and will continue to moving forward.
Economic development continues to be the lifeblood of our county, especially Dist. 2, Rinehart said.
One difference - albeit a technical one - between the candidates could turn out to be a significant one.
Both Rinehart and Henderson filed as Republicans before Rinehart was left off the June primary ballot. Because hes a petition candidate, Rinehart will be listed as an independent. Meaning his own party could be his biggest challenge if members vote straight party, which would give Henderson the votes. While collecting signatures required an extra step of Rinehart, hes hoping voters wont mind taking one, too.
Its going to be important to educate the voters, Rinehart said. I would hope that the voters would look at the candidates.
Wanda Hemphill, director of York County Registration and Elections, said early Friday afternoon that her office hoped to have the signatures verified prior to a 5:30 p.m. York County Election Commission meeting July 9. Petition candidates were to be an agenda item at that meeting.
We are diligently working away trying to get this completed, Hemphill said. Wed like to have it wrapped up before then.
So far petition candidates in the county include Rinehart and Gary Williams (Dist. 6) for York County Council, and Raye Felder for the state house Dist. 26 seat. At least two more potential candidates for County Council seats have expressed interest in filing petitions. The deadline is July 16.
On Friday the Herald reported that Joe Thompson of York, a Clover small business owner and president of an area Tea Party group, is hoping to collect enough signatures to run against state Sen. Wes Hayes, Dist. 15.
Its a grassroots effort that were trying to get this done, he told the Herald.
If we cant get the signatures, then at least we tried, he said.