This article has been updated with corrected information on qualifications and vote totals from the initial June 14 primary.
A primary runoff election for state Superintendent of Education set for next week includes a candidate from Greenville, Ellen Weaver, who must obtain her Master’s degree to be qualified to hold the position.
While an email from the communications director of the South Carolina Republican Party indicates the degree must be obtained by November’s general election, case law stipulates that the requirement is for the degree to be obtained by the office’s inauguration in January, according to attorney Kevin Hall.
Weaver is currently enrolled in an online curriculum that requires 33 credits for Master’s degree completion, said Randy Page, public relations director at Bob Jones University.
Candidate-qualification law says those running for state Superintendent of Education in South Carolina must have their Master’s degree.
“Ellen is fully qualified to run for Superintendent of Education and will be,” said Ryan Gillespie, campaign manager for Ellen Weaver. “Voters have a clear choice on June 28th – a conservative voice for parents, students and teachers.”
Weaver is part of Bob Jones University’s Educational Leadership program, Page said.
“It is possible for her to complete this before the election,” Page said. “There is not a maximum about of credits that can be taken.”
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Weaver had the second-most votes in the Republican state superintendent primary race with 79,077 votes and will face Kathy Maness, who won 103, 608 votes, in the runoff election on June 28th.
According to an opinion from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, political parties nominating candidates by party primary must verify the qualifications of those candidates prior to certification and must provide candidate names to the election commission so names can be placed on ballots. Once partisan candidates have been nominated via a primary election, their respective parties must certify them to be placed on ballots for general and special elections, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The state Republican Party certified Weaver for the primary.
The state Election Commission does not have the authority to validate candidate qualifications, so the commission would be responsible only if a nonpartisan candidate were to violate the rules, said Chris Whitmire, a spokesman with the state Election Commission.
“Our responsibility is to count and certify the vote totals and report the winner to the Secretary of State’s office,” Whitmire said.
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– Caitlin Herrington, local reporter and lover of alliteration, covers government and growth in the Golden Strip. Get in touch with her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @GVLnewsCat.