Enquirer Herald

Tea party chair hopes to run against Rock Hill’s Hayes for SC Senate

Joe Thompson, president of the S.C. District 5 Patriots, an area tea party group, announced Friday that he is launching a campaign to run as a petition candidate against Republican Wes Hayes in S.C. Senate District 15.

Thompson manages a small business in Clover and lives in York and has been the president of the tea party group since it formed in 2010.

His announcement comes less than two weeks before the noon July 16 deadline for submitting petitions to election officials.

“Of the many reasons to run, my biggest concern is the lack of positive movement that our State Senate has made in improving the education and tax systems of our state,” Thompson said in a release announcing his run.

Thompson said he needs more than 3,000 signatures and will strive to get 4,000. He has about 1,000 after a week collecting them.

“It's a grassroots effort that we're trying to get this done,” he later told The Herald. “If we can't get the signatures, then at least we tried,” he said.

Hayes, a Rock Hill attorney, has served the District 15 seat representing much of York County since 1991, and before that, he served the state House for six years.