Wednesday, June 19, 2013
It has been a little more than a year since the 2012 Republican primary, eight months since the election, and six months since the new edition of Berkeley County Council began. And, finally, the election of the District 3 county council seat is officially over.
Ken Gunn still won.
Last week, the South Carolina Supreme Court dismissed former councilman Bob Call’s final appeal in the lawsuit over the June 2012 election Call lost to Gunn, thus officially closing the curtain on the primary election that is now more than a year old.
In the year since his victory over Call, Gunn has remained tightlipped over the outcome, the lawsuit and his political opponent. None of that has changed following the South Carolina Supreme Court’s dismissal.
“The bottom line is simple,” Gunn said. “There was an election. He lost by 16 percent of the vote. And now he thinks he’s a victim.”
Call spent the remainder of 2012 orchestrating a lawsuit challenging his primary loss, insinuating many times that the election wasn’t over. Yet Call lost in the lawsuit trial, and every subsequent appeal leading to the state supreme court, where the former District 3 councilman vowed he would take his case.
After losing the primary, Call waited nearly three months before filing his lawsuit that included Gunn, then Berkeley County Republican Party Chairman Tim Callanan, the Berkeley County Republican Party, the Berkeley County Election Commission and the South Carolina Election Commission, a lawsuit that was dismissed in court and either dismissed or thrown out in each of the appeals courts leading all the way to the State Supreme Court.
“For one I’m glad it’s finally over,” said Callanan after receiving a letter from the state supreme court notifying him of his decision. “Berkeley County spent 10,000 dollars in attorney’s fees for this lawsuit.
“Add to that the personal cost to Mr. Gunn and I, the Berkeley County Republican Party, the Berkeley County Election Commission and the South Carolina Election Commission, (and) that figure could easily be tripled.”
Call’s lawsuit stemmed from his claim that Gunn was late in filing his candidacy paperwork and did not file his paperwork properly, particularly his statement of economic interest, a political loophole the state legislature has since rectified.
Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson told Gunn during the Aug. 17, 2012 trial that “filing your paperwork three hours late is not going to get you disqualified as a candidate for office.”
Nicholson added in a worst case scenario filing late might warrant a fine, but “attempting to file on time is as good as filing on time.”
Gunn and Callanan presented evidence showing Gunn did indeed file his paperwork correctly and on time, which satisfied Judge Nicholson who then dismissed Call’s lawsuit.
“The losers in the lawsuit,” Callanan said, “… Bob Call lost, Ken Gunn lost, I lost, the Berkeley County Republican Party lost, the Berkeley County and the South Carolina Election Commissions all lost. The only ones to win in this were the attorneys. It’s a shame, really.”