FITS has received the following statement from “independent Republican” petition candidate Tom Ervin in response to the SCGOP’s issuance of a letter instructing him to stop referring to himself as a Republican on the campaign trail in 2014.

Ervin is running for governor along with incumbent “Republican” Nikki Haley, Democrat Vincent Sheheen and Libertarian Steve French.

Here is Ervin’s statement …

“In her latest attempt to salvage her national political ambitions, the governor has now directed the state Republican Party staff to trample on the Bill of Rights, specifically the Right to Free Speech.

Using Chairman Moore’s ‘logic,’ voters who consider themselves Republicans — but don’t agree with the governor — are no longer Republican, or so says the governor through her intermediaries.

But, I have no quibble with Chairman Moore. He seems like a sincere young man who is simply carrying out orders from the governor. We all know that. In fact, I look forward to working with Matt — or his successor — as the next independent REPUBLICAN governor of South Carolina.

I was proud to vote in the Republican Primary in 2012, to host an event in my home for Mitt Romney, and I’m proud of the 2014 sustaining membership card in the South Carolina GOP I received from Chairman Moore.

Since I announced my candidacy, thousands of South Carolinians — including many Republicans — have joined our effort to restore integrity and honesty in Columbia. Why? Because we’re about offering common sense solutions to the problems plaguing our state. I wish the governor showed as much passion in protecting our vulnerable children who have been abandoned by the director of DSS, fixing our crumbling roads, reforming our tax code and giving parents more choice in the education of their children as she does in protecting her political future.

Oh, and I hope she joins me in opposing frivolous lawsuits.”