The race to be the next resident circuit court judge for York County is down to two candidates -- one of whom is a woman in a county that has never had a woman circuit judge.
Bryson “B.J” Barrowclough, 16th Circuit deputy public defender, formally withdrew from the race last week, according to Barrowclough and documents filed with the S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission.
Remaining candidates are both prosecutors. William “Bill” McKinnon, 16th Circuit assistant solicitor, and Lisa Collins, 6th Circuit deputy solicitor, still are seeking the post to replace retired Judge John. C. Hayes III.
Circuit judges in South Carolina are selected by the 170 members of the state Legislature, not by public vote. Most states have popular vote judicial elections.
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The vote by legislators to choose the next judge is scheduled Feb. 7. The three finalists started seeking endorsements last week. It is not uncommon for candidates who know they do not have enough votes to win to drop out before the election.
The 16th Circuit represents York and Union counties yet circuit court judges have statewide jurisdiction.
York County has never had a female circuit court judge. One other judicial circuit court seat in York County, for master-in-equity judge, also is open. That master-in-equity seat has two candidates, one of whom is a woman.
Collins, a longtime prosecutor, former public defender and former municipal judge, was not one of the original three finalists whom the selection commission initially sent to legislators for a vote late last year. The original finalists were McKinnon, Barrowclough, and Rock Hill lawyer James “Jimbo” Morton, a Rock Hill lawyer and former prosecutor.
Morton was removed as a finalist last month after engaging in political activity while a candidate, which is against the rules for candidates.