The first salvos have been fired in the battle for the Fourth District State Senatorial seat between Democrat Art Haywood and Republican Robin Gilchrist, as late last week Gilchrist accused Haywood of ethical violations involving the filing of paperwork necessary for Haywood to appear on the ballot.
Gilchrist and Haywood are the finalists to replace outgoing State Sen. LeAnna Washington, and will face each other in November’s general elections.
At issue are Gilchrist’s allegations that Haywood hasn’t filed the required Statement of Financial Interest with both the State Ethics Commission and the Board of Elections. Gilchrist confirmed her allegations last Friday after communicating with Ethics Commission director of investigations Brian D. Jacisin.
Gilchrist said he searched the State Ethics Commission’s website and found no entry from Haywood. Gilchrist also said that he called the Board of Elections, and while “they weren’t very helpful,” Gilchrist said the board did seem to confirm that Haywood did not submit the required paperwork.
“By law, a candidate is supposed to file with both the State Ethics Commission and Board of Elections before turning in a petition [to appear on the ballot]. The investigator said he would look into it, but told me it wasn’t enough to knock Haywood off the ballot,” said Gilchrist. “I just want answers. If Haywood can prove he filed and it was a mistake on the office’s part, that’s fine and I am OK with that. But now that I called the proper attention to it, I’m not getting much help. I asked ‘what are we going to do about this?’ and was told there was nothing to do. But it’s outlined in the law, and it’s actually a misdemeanor, and Haywood should be fined every day he doesn’t file.”
Gilchrist compared this situation to that of Robert Richard “Bob” Guzzardi, the Republican gubernatorial primary candidate who was kicked off the ballot for failing to submit a Statement of Financial Interests. The other Republican primary candidates successfully sued in court to have Guzzardi tossed off the ticket.
“The same thing happened to Guzzardi, who was kicked off for being two days late in filing,” Gilchrist said. “I just want answers.”
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