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      SC agency OKs 1st petition candidate for ballots

      Raye Felder gathering signatures during a petition drive.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The South Carolina Election Commission has certified its first petition candidate for the November ballots.

      Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire says House candidate Raye Felder will receive written notification Thursday that her petition is valid.

      Felder was among nearly 250 candidates statewide tossed off primary ballots following a May ruling by the state Supreme Court on improperly filed paperwork. Felder was seeking the Republican nomination for a newly drawn House seat representing Fort Mill.

      The court decision left no major-party candidate seeking the seat.

      An unprecedented number of petition candidates are expected in November.

      Thirteen other potential candidates for legislative offices have turned in their petitions. The deadline is noon Monday. Felder submitted hers on June 28.

      The agency must complete the signature verification process by noon Aug. 15.