COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The state Republican Party is threatening legal action against an independent candidate for governor over the use of a phrase in his campaign ad.
GOP Chairman Matt Moore held a news conference Thursday morning to unveil a cease and desist letter sent to candidate Tom Ervin, who has been identifying himself as an "independent Republican" running for governor.
"As a former judge, Mr. Ervin should know better, quite frankly," said Moore.
"He has far more in common with the Democrats than any Republican. We're standing here today asking Mr. Ervin to remove these ads and tell the truth to the public."
Ervin, who briefly ran against Gov. Nikki Haley in the June GOP primary for governor, pulled out of the primary and restarted his campaign as an independent.
The letter, drafted by the law firm of Johnson, Smith, Hibbard, and Wildman, says Ervin has forfeited his right to refer to himself as a Republican after quitting the primary.
"You chose to run as an independent," said the letter. "The use of the word 'Republican' by a candidate who has chosen to withdraw from the Republican primary will undoubtedly confuse voters and create the false impression that you are actually a candidate of the Republican Party."
The former judge and state legislator cashed out his 401K to largely self-fund his campaign.
It appears some of that money was used to shoot and purchase air time for the 30-second ad -- which has appeared on WIS airwaves -- that touts Ervin's qualities as a candidate.
"It's time for a governor who has the guts to tell the truth to the people," said Ervin in the ad.
Ervin says he has not seen the cease and desist letter but believes it to be a "desperate attempt" by Haley to "distract" voters from her record.
In the meantime, Ervin says he will continue to refer to himself as an "independent Republican."