PICKENS COUNTY—Two more candidates will likely be added to the ballot in the Pickens County Sheriff’s race in the November General Election.
Tim Morgan and Stan Whitten turned in signatures to be petition candidates last week, and, if verified, will be listed on the ballot with Republican Rick Clark and Independent Keith Culbreath.
The two petition candidates said it was a stressful process, but they were happy to find support in Pickens County.
“I wasn’t going to lie down and quit,” said Whitten, who acquired 4,077 signatures. “If I’m going to get beat, it is going to be in the ballot box and not because of what the Supreme Court said.”
Instead of running with the other Republican candidates in the primary, Whitten found himself getting signatures on those days because of a decision by the State Supreme Court that knocked him and Kerry Avery off the ballot. They were among 200 candidates statewide who were disqualified from the Primary. The state’s highest court said the candidates in question met the March 30 deadline for submitting paperwork but did not submit two different documents at the same time as required by law.
“Getting signatures gave me a new outlook in terms of running for office,” said Whitten. “It’s extremely difficult to go out there face-to-face with somebody and get a signature. It’s a lot easier for somebody to go in there and punch a button than it is for them to sign their name and date of birth to a petition.”
Morgan, who did not announce his intentions to run for office until after current Sheriff David Stone was defeated in the primary, says he was overwhelmed with support.
“I was pleasantly amazed,” said Morgan. “I turned in 6,262 petitions. I don’t know of anything in life that I’ve accomplished by myself. I’ve always done things with the help of other folks, and this isn’t really anything that I did. It had to be other people to make it possible.”
Morgan says he didn’t have enough forms for everyone who wanted to sign.
“I had 400 forms printed, and I had to go back to Staples on three or four different occasions because people were calling and asking for them,” said Morgan. “I asked the employees not to get involved in it because I wanted their job to be safe. I didn’t want them to get caught up in a political mess.”
One of Morgan’s signatures even came from a familiar name.
“I believe everyone has a right to run, so my wife and I signed Tim’s petition and he and his wife signed my petition,” said Whitten. “I thought that was really positive.”
With the required signatures now turned in, the focus shifts to the campaign ahead.
“We’re trying just trying to educate the public and we’re telling them not to vote straight-party tickets,” said Whitten. “We hope they will look at the petition candidates. We hope they will vote for the person and not for the party.”
Morgan says he knows there will be a lot more people voting this time around.
“We’re trying to get some plans together,” said Morgan. “There’s probably four or five times the amount of people that vote in the general elections as opposed to those who voted in the Primary. There are a lot of people to try to make contact with, and I plan to get out and about.”
Morgan will likely be the candidate to receive an endorsement from Stone, who has been the Pickens County Sheriff for 43 years. He says he has already acknowledged some support from Stone.
“I’m not going to say what I want to do or what I’m going to do until after the petitions are verified, but Sheriff Stone does support me in this,” said Morgan.
Four candidates listed on the ballot would certainly be a record for the Pickens County Sheriff’s seat.