COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WVOC) - Governor Nikki Haley's Republican opponent says he's decided to bypass the primary and become a petition candidate in the November General Election.

Tom Ervin withdrew Friday from the Republican primary election in June, less than two weeks after filing to run as a Republican.

The former House member and judge says he will immediately begin gathering signatures to be a petition candidate. 

He says he wants to give voters a choice between two career politicians in Haley and Democratic Kershaw County State Senator Vincent Sheheen.

State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire says Ervin's name will be removed from June 10th primary ballots, but his $4,200 candidate filing fee won't be reimbursed.

Campaign disclosures filed Thursday showed Ervin loaned himself more than $420,000 toward his bid.  He had just $270,000 available as of March 31st, compared to Haley's $4.3 million. 

(Photo source:  Tom Ervin campaign)