Candidate for SC House faces underage drinking charges - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Candidate for SC House faces underage drinking charges

Austin Smith (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office) Austin Smith (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF/AP) - The Democratic candidate for a South Carolina House seat has been charged with underage drinking.

Twenty-year-old Austin Smith was arrested earlier this week and charged with underage drinking and hindering an officer.

Smith is seeking the seat held by Florence Republican Rep. Kris Crawford.

Florence Police Major Carlos Raines says officers responding to a call found Smith wandering through an apartment complex on the morning of Sunday, July 22.

Raines tells WMBF News that Smith called police claiming a female had thrown a beer can at him. Smith was unsteady on his feet, slurred his speech and they smelled alcohol on his breath.

Smith issued a statement apologizing for the arrest and said he's staying in the race. According to his campaign website, Smith is a senior at Francis Marion University majoring in political science.

Florence County Republican Party Chairman Bill Pickle said the party will not call on Smith to quit.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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