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      Federal panel begins hearing SC senate primary appeal

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- A three-judge federal panel has begun hearing arguments challenging a special South Carolina Senate primary involving the son of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond.

      State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian is arguing the case before the judges in Charleston. The lawsuit questions whether the primary involving Paul Thurmond should have been held earlier this month before being pre-cleared by the Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act.

      Those challenging the primary have suggested several possible solutions, including delaying the election or holding the election without Thurmond's name on the ballot.

      The election is for the Senate seat long held by Glenn McConnell of Charleston. He became lieutenant governor after Ken Ard resigned earlier this year.

      The special primary had been held because of the problems with election paperwork.

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