Win or lose, candidate for governor hopes to change status quo - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Win or lose, candidate for governor hopes to change status quo

GREENVILLE, SC (WIS) -

Last month, Tom Ervin surprised everyone by challenging Gov. Nikki Haley in the republican primary.

Just last week, Ervin decided to bypass party altogether.

Ervin was a circuit court judge for 14 years and a house lawmaker. Now he's cashed out his 401K and is setting his sights on the governor's office.

Before becoming one of the youngest judges in South Carolina, radio was his passion.

Nowadays, when he's not running his three radio stations or practicing disability law, he's finding an audience.

"It's true I was a late entry, and that's why I skipped the republican primary," Ervin said.

"I need more time to get my positive message out to South Carolina."

Even though he's voted democrat and republican in the past, Ervin said he's now running as an independent.

"It actually opened up opportunities for us," Ervin said. "There's so many people who are tired of the parties, the infighting, the gridlock and the wrangling. We're free from that."

But some political experts say that may also hurt Ervin's chances of success.

"Independents have a very difficult time in winning an election," said USC political science professor Robert Olendick. "The resources the republican and democrat parties bring to an election add to the name recognition and incumbency factor."

According to recent filings, Haley has raised about $4 million and Ervin has about $271,000.

Ervin said his ideas outweigh currency and is focused on fixing state roads and making education obtainable for the future workforce.

"I will introduce a proposal... if a young person enters a university in South Carolina, their tuition would stay the same for four years," Ervin said. "It gives the family the chance to plan a budget."

Ervin is critical of Haley's decision not to expand Medicaid but he agree with her that the Affordable Care Act should be repealed.

He also calls both Haley and his democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen career politicians.

"I put my name in the general election because I want to offer people a choice between the status quo politicians that Nikki Haley represents on the right, and that Vincent Sheheen represents on the left, Ervin said.

Oldendick said Ervin's campaign, win or lose, will play a part in November's election.

"Last time it was a four point difference between Gov. Haley and Sen. Sheheen,"Oldendick said. "Is it possible that he could take enough republican votes to tighten up that margin? So that will be the interesting dynamic to watch as we go through the campaign."

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