EMBATTLED EX-LAWMAKER PROCLAIMS INNOCENCE, SAYS HE WILL FIGHT FOR HIS SEAT
|| By FITSNEWS || Three ranking “Republicans” in the S.C. House of Representatives tell FITS they will not seat former lawmaker Nelson Hardwick in the event he runs for – and wins – the seat he abruptly vacated this week amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
As exclusively reported by FITS earlier this week, Hardwick resigned after a female House staffer accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. The S.C. House “Ethics” Committee was prepared to meet on those allegations, but Hardwick resigned prior to that hearing – and a decision was made to cancel it. However a criminal investigation requested by the S.C. attorney general’s office – conducted by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – is ongoing.
Since our original report was published, additional allegations of improper conduct have been leveled at Hardwick – a 63-year-old who is married with three children.
His response? Lawyering up …
“He resigned as a knee jerk reaction,” Hardwick’s attorney told The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper. “He tried to withdraw his resignation, but he was too late. I am confident that when all the dust clears everyone will see that Nelson has been falsely accused.”
We highly doubt the latter conclusion, although the first part of that statement is accurate …
“He gave his resignation (Tuesday) at five-thirty … then (Wednesday) morning he tried to rescind the resignation,” one lawmaker told FITS. “He was told he couldn’t and said he may run in the election.”
Once Hardwick’s resignation was accepted, it automatically triggered a special election for the Horry County district he represented.
Filing for that race will open on May 29 and close on June 8. Primary elections will be held on July 28 with runoffs on August 11, if necessary. The special election to ultimately fill the seat will be held on September 15.
Reportedly interested in running? Columnist Mande Wilkes – who gave Hardwick a run for his money in 2010 – and Horry County councilman Tyler Servant. Social conservative Reese Boyd – a board member of the Palmetto Family Council – is also reportedly eyeing the seat.
Would Hardwick really campaign for the seat he vacated?
“If he runs and wins we won’t seat him,” one GOP leader told FITS.
Meanwhile a source close to one of Hardwick’s alleged victims took it a step further.
“Somebody’s going to cut his nuts off before that happens,” the source said.
Drama, drama, drama …