Federal panel keeps Thurmond on SC Senate ballot

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The son of late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond will stay on ballots as the Republican nominee for a South Carolina state Senate seat.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that Paul Thurmond had been legitimately selected as the GOP nominee.

A lawsuit argued that the way Thurmond won the primary represents a change in state voting law that should have required approval from the U.S. Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act.

But Thurmond's attorneys said 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.

Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said he was disappointed in the ruling but was not sure if he would appeal. Thurmond did not immediately return a message.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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