Ervin returns to political spotlight with run for governor


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A former Upstate lawmaker with Lowcountry connections is pushing forward with his plans to become South Carolina's next governor. Tom Ervin describes himself as an independent Republican.

"This is the gateway for South Carolina and what we have to do is protect the Charleston Harbor," explained Tom Ervin as he strolled the Charleston waterfront.

He's also walking back into a political spotlight he left behind more than 20 years ago. The former two-term lawmaker looks to return to Columbia, but with the top seat in state government.

While he may not be a household name yet, Ervin says his TV commercials are designed to change that.

"I care about people. I want to help people in time of need. And I know government is not the answer. We can't do all things for all people, but what we do we need to do well," said the independent Republican candidate for governor.

His platform promises to repeal the state's income tax, focus on the ports of Charleston and Georgetown, and continue ethics reform for lawmakers among other issues.

"What I'd like to do is raise the minimum wage so that we can give those folks who are struggling and working to make ends meet a living wage," explained Ervin.

Some political scientists aren't sure he can get elected, including Dr. DuBose Kapeluck, a professor at The Citadel.

"I don't think he has a chance of winning. The Democrats and Republicans are really the only game in town here in South Carolina, particularly the Republicans," said Kapeluck.

He isn't sure if frontrunners Nikki Haley or Vincent Sheheen could lose the most votes because of Tom Ervin's candidacy.

"He's running a centrist campaign, right down the middle. He's got some issues that he's taken from the Democrats and some issues that he's taken from the Republican side," DuBose said.

Ervin says he doesn't allow detractors or weak poll numbers to discourage him.

"The only poll that really matters to me is the poll on general election day in November. That's the poll that counts," said Ervin.

ABC News 4's most recent poll last month shows only 3 percent of voters would choose Tom Ervin this November. But Ervin says he expects high-profile TV commercials to help increase his name recognition.