Over the weekend, FITS broke the news that S.C. Sen. Phil Shoopman (R-Greenville) had decided not to seek reelection in 2012.

(Yes, we break news on the weekends).

Shoopman’s decision prompted the SCGOP to announce that it was reopening filing for his State Senate seat for a forty-eight  hour period beginning at noon on Monday. That decision has prompted an intense backlash among some in the party. Particularly livid? Amanda Somers, who was Shoopman’s only challenger as well as the only other candidate of either party to file for the seat.

Who is Amanda Somers?

That’s a good question. So far all we know about her is that she voted in 2008 Democratic Party Presidential Primary … although it’s unclear at this point whether she cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Aside from that, she has reportedly been lobbying the legislature on behalf of her industry – pushing for physical therapists like herself to be categorized as physicians. Such a categorization would allow them to compete for more lucrative business.

Sources tell FITS that S.C. Rep. Tom Corbin (R-Greenville) plans to take advantage of the reopened filing process to declare his candidacy for the seat … which has prompted supporters of Somers to declare that the “good ole boys” have worked out some sort of corrupt bargain to keep her from assuming the seat.

Not so says the SCGOP, which referred us to state law (specifically code section 7-11-15).

Here’s the relevant text:

If, after the closing of the time for filing statements of intention of candidacy, there are not more than two candidates for any one office and one or more of the candidates dies, or withdraws, the state or county committee, as the case may be, if the nomination is by political party primary or political party convention only may, in its discretion, afford opportunity for the entry of other candidates for the office involved; however, for the office of State House of Representatives or State Senator, the discretion must be exercised by the state committee.

Guess that settles that, right?

Probably not … because this is South Carolina, where nothing is ever black and white.

All we know is that Shoopman was a rock star when it came to protecting taxpayers, and anything short of that sort of consistent advocacy from whomever assumes this seat is unacceptable.