Federal panel hears SC Senate primary appeal

Charleston, SC (AP) - A three-judge federal panel has finished hearing more than six hours of arguments challenging a special South Carolina Senate primary involving the son of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian told the judges the way Paul Thurmond won the GOP primary represents a change in state voting law that must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act.

But attorneys for Thurmond say there's been no change and a state Supreme Court ruling allowing a special GOP primary in Senate District 41 was simply an interpretation of existing state law.

Thurmond won the June primary, but was later disqualified because he didn't properly file election papers. He then won the second primary in a runoff earlier this month.

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