Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The South Carolina Republican Party says it will back Katrina Shealy in the race for Lexington County's District 23 Senate seat.
Shealy is challenging long-time senator Jake Knotts for the seat.
A source within the party says the executive committee unanimously voted to support Shealy. The vote came during SCGOP's third quarter meeting Saturday morning.
Shealy was among 250 candidates kicked off the ballots earlier this year. She later announced she had gathered enough signatures to get her name back on the ballot.
RJ Shealy with Knott's campaign sent News19 a response from the Senator.
"Over the years I've earned the nickname, 'the Senator for the people.' It's because I put the people of Lexington County first, ahead of any outside interests and especially above any political party," said the response.
Knotts called the move an attempt to bring in people from outside Lexington County to work against him. He said he would continue to focus his campaign in Lexington.
"I'm running to serve the people of Lexington County, while she's beholden to outside political interests," said Knotts. "Furthermore let me add that this shows just how far the party has drifted. We've strayed far from the common-sense conservative principles which have helped the Republican Party grow and flourish. These aren't real Republicans. Real Republicans, such as those in Lexington County, still support Jake Knotts."
Calls to Shealy's campaign have not yet been returned.