AIKEN -- With more than 300 signatures more than the required 1,026, Scott Singer has taken the first step to getting on the ballot as a petition candidate for the South Carolina Legislature.
Mr. Singer turned in petitions with the signatures of more than 1,350 residents of South Carolina House District 81 on Thursday.
"Most of the signatures came from friends talking to friends, business associates talking to their associates and families talking to families," Mr. Singer said.
About 70 friends and associates gathered signatures for him, but it also took door-to-door canvassing on the part of Mr. Singer and his wife Mary, who brought in 150 signatures.
Mr. Singer garnered 260 signatures in his door-to-door walks during the record-breaking heat wave of the past two weeks. He lost 13 pounds in the process, he said.
The second step begins immediately at the county elections office, where every signature must be validated by checking the registration forms of every person signing Mr. Singer's petitions.
Their signatures must match those on the forms and each must live within District 81.
Finally, the petitions are to be brought before the Aiken County Election Commission in a special meeting Thursday. If at least 1,026 signatures are in order, Mr. Singer will be certified as a petition candidate and his name will be placed on the ballot for the Oct. 5 special election to fill the seat vacated by the June death of Rep. Rudy Mason.
Kathryn Kling, Robert S. (Skipper) Perry, and Rebekah Sutherland are seeking the Republican nomination for the District 81 seat. The GOP primary is set for Aug. 17.
The last time a petition candidate ran for the state House was in 1988 when George Brightharp of Johnston ran in a three-man race against Republican Clyde Jackson III and William Keesley. Mr. Keesley, now a circuit court judge, won the election.
Petition candidates for county council have not prevailed since Charles Jackson ran for County Council District 3 seat against Marvin Dunbar, who won the election.
In 1982, petition candidate Gordon Mundy Sr. lost to Faye Hatcher in 1982. Two petition candidates ran in 1984. Michael McElhaney challenged Republican Carrol Warner for County Council chairman and lost, and Cynthia Gordon ran against Republican Mim Woodring in North Augusta's District 4 and lost.
Mr. Singer is confident there is strong support for his candidacy among the electorate.
"Clearly, people are fed up with partisan rancor. They are looking for elected officials to seriously address the problems facing the state," Mr. Singer said.
He said he would welcome the outcome of the Republican primary and issued a challenge to the winner.
"I would like to debate the winner, hopefully on the city television channel," he said.