Bruce Bryant will become the area’s newest state legislator.
Unofficial results Tuesday night show Bryant, the former York County sheriff, holding a more than 20 percentage point lead against Bebs Barron Chorak for the S.C. House District 48 seat. District48 covers most of Lake Wylie south of S.C. 49 and east of S.C. 274, Tega Cay and parts of the Fort Mill and Rock Hill communities.
“It's great,” Bryant said as results continued to come in Tuesday night. “It's great. I'm just absolutely thrilled that there are so many people of York County that continue to put their trust in me."
At press time, Bryant led by more than 1,300 votes – a 61 to 39 percent margin – with 14 of 17 precincts reporting. Bryant said he and Chorak both ran clean, respectable campaigns for the seat. He planned a little time to celebrate the win before getting to the issues facing Columbia and the district.
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"I'm just thrilled,” Bryant said. “I'm glad it's over."
The district seat opened when former state Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill) left the seat to run for the 5th Congressional District seat. Norman said he left the Statehouse when he did so both elections – primaries and the special election – could be held together.
Bryant served as sheriff in York County for two decades. He served in other law enforcement roles, local and state, prior.
Bryant defeated fellow Republican candidate Tom Nichols in a May primary. Chorak didn’t face opposition among Democrats. Once Bryant emerged from his party Chorak said she expected law enforcement to be a major issue for voters.
Bryant said during his campaign law enforcement and public safety were natural parts of his campaign. He also focused on efforts to revamp the state highway department and improve the way roads are constructed in the state, from the base materials up. Locally, Bryant said pollution and overdevelopment in Lake Wylie were major concerns.
"We talked a lot about the (state) gas tax,” Bryant said. “A main issue for folks was our infrastructure on our roads and our bridges. We can throw all the money that we can muster on our roads, but it doesn’t do us any good if we don’t get down to the root problem of engineering and the inspection of our roads, taking the lowest bid to get the roads paved."
Bryant pointed to at least one road in the York area being torn up and redone less than a decade after it was built. He called it “unacceptable,” as are law enforcement rules at the state level that aren’t enforceable.
"You build your house on a firm foundation,” Bryant said. “That road must be built on a firm foundation."