JOHN RAY TO ANNOUNCE CANDIDACY
Suspended South Carolina state representative Rick Quinn has drawn a challenger – and his new opponent doesn’t want to wait until next year’s “Republican” primary election to start campaigning.
John Ray, a Lexington County resident and executive director of a continuing education association affiliated with the state’s cosmetology industry, says voters in S.C. House District 69 (map) are being subjected to “taxation without representation” and deserve to pick a new lawmaker in a special election.
Ray is referring to recent the recent suspensions of Quinn and State Senator John Courson, who represents S.C. Senate District 20 (map). Both Quinn and Courson have been suspended from office following their indictment on charges connected to #ProbeGate – an ongoing investigation of corruption in state government.
Quinn has represented district 69 since 2011. Prior to that, he represented S.C. House district 71 (map) from 1989-2004.
According to Ray, several thousand Lexington County taxpayers reside in an area where these districts overlap – meaning they have no representation at the S.C. State House.
Ray, 23, will make his intentions known at a press conference in front of the S.C. House of Representatives this coming Thursday, June 15 at 11:30 a.m. EDT.
Quinn was indicted last month on two counts of misconduct in office. Specifically, he is accused of failing to report more than $4.5 million worth of payments received from a host of special interests between January 1999 and April of this year. He is also accused of steering more than $270,000 in S.C. House “Republican” Caucus funds toward his father’s consulting firm, Richard Quinn and Associates.
Courson was indicted back in March on three counts. He is accused of routing nearly a quarter of a million dollars through his campaign account to Quinn’s firm. Roughly half of that money was then allegedly funneled back to Courson via “multiple transactions” totaling more than $130,000.
Both are unlikely to cast votes on behalf of their constituents anytime soon.
“I cannot sit back and allow House district sixty-nine to NOT be represented in the General Assembly,” Ray said. “I am asking my fellow citizens to join me in calling for a special election immediately.”
Ray won’t get the special election he wants unless Quinn a) resigns; b) pleads guilty to the charges against him; or c) is found guilty of those charges. Ray can, however, file in March 2018 to run against Quinn in a June 2018 primary election – assuming the embattled lawmaker seeks reelection.
To his credit, Quinn voted against the gas tax earlier this year. However, he was suspended from office for the final votes on the Palmetto State’s $29 billion state budget – which will appropriate those monies.
Ray said he would have also voted to oppose the gas tax.
“I would not have voted to raise the gas tax, nor do I believe the citizens of House District sixty-nine would have wanted me to vote for a regressive tax that will cause increases on all goods and services, which will overall negatively affect small business owners, their employees and the economy,” he said.
Ray is the executive director of Professional Continuing Education Services, a state-accredited online service that provides continuing education for cosmetologists, nail technicians, estheticians and instructors. He is also a former S.C. State Senate staffer and high school football assistant coach.
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