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SC House races in York County see record number of Democratic challengers

York County voters ‘unsure’ about voting, candidates’ stance on issues that impact citizens

Some voters in York County agree that voting is important, but are unsure about the candidates, about the issues that will impact their lives and whether they will vote at all. Some voters say they will vote on a straight political party.
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Some voters in York County agree that voting is important, but are unsure about the candidates, about the issues that will impact their lives and whether they will vote at all. Some voters say they will vote on a straight political party.

A record number of Democratic candidates are seeking to represent York County in the state House of Representatives -- more than in at least 10 years.

York County Democratic Party chairperson Jim Thompson said that has taken a lot of work.

Seven Democrats are running for election to represent parts of York County in the state House in the November 2018 election.

“You’re always scouting out for people who are interested and qualified and articulate,” Thompson said. “And willing to put in the time and effort. So I was pleasantly surprised this year when people started approaching me, indicating they had an interest to run.”

Only three Democratic candidates ran for the state House in 2016, and only two in 2014’s midterm election.

One Democratic candidate ran in 2012’s presidential election. Five Democratic candidates ran for the state House in both 2010 and 2008.

Only two uncontested Republicans are on the ballot to represent parts of York County in the state House in the 2018 election. In the 2014 midterm election, there were six uncontested Republican races.

Thompson said an increase in candidates means the county party has needed more volunteers than ever.

“We’ve never had to knock on doors for seven House candidates in seven districts,” he said. “We have had amazing response from new volunteers. I’ve seen probably at least 60 or 70 new volunteers who have stepped up.”

York County has been a Republican stronghold. The county voted for Republican President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election at an even higher rate than South Carolina, long a Republican-dominated state.

Trump won York County with 58.37 percent of the vote, compared to 54.94 percent of the vote in South Carolina.

But Thompson said the York County Democratic Party is up for the challenge.

“We know here in South Carolina as Democrats, we have to keep getting our message out,” he said.

“The good thing is over the years, we’ve had great volunteers that knock on the doors, know how to do this, do the phone calls and the follow-up,” he said. “And Republicans just haven’t had to do it. They haven’t had to organize their precincts or do anything. Sadly, because they haven’t had opposition.”

Thompson told The Herald in June that he’s seen high percentages of women registering. He said that could be related to Trump’s election.

“We’ve seen a big uptick, not only in women registering to vote, but in their activities as far as volunteering with a political campaigns or party and as candidates this year,” he said. “So that may have to do with what happened in November 2016, but not probably exclusively. I think women sometimes are a little bit more involved in issues in the community, so they may be more apt to register.”

Thompson said the organization has tried to support people of color and women as candidates in stronger numbers.

“If you look at our candidates and our volunteer base, it’s much more reflective of the community than the other party,” he said. “I just think it’s the issues. We’re very involved in the community, we’re very involved in education.”

The York County Democratic Party is also fighting for countywide offices. Two Democrats are running for County Council offices. Republican Joel Hamilton and Democrat Montrio Belton will face off Nov. 6 for the District 7 County Council seat.

Democrat William “Bump” Roddey is running for re-election in District 4, and Republican Robert Winkler is running for re-election in District 3. Those races are uncontested.

Democrats have a candidate running for probate judge against Incumbent Republican Carolyn Rogers of Rock Hill too.

Democrat Diondra Love of York is hoping to be elected as probate judge, but was arrested Oct. 12 on a domestic violence warrant. Thompson said the charges were a family matter.

“She’ll have her day in court,” Thompson said. “But my view is any public official, or someone seeking to be elected, should be above reproach.”

Thompson said the Democratic Party has worked hard since the presidential election in 2016 to attract good candidates and register residents to vote.

“I think that we’re poised to make a big difference in November,” he said.

State House of Representative elections in York County

DISTRICT 26

Republican incumbent Raye Felder is running against Democrat John Kraljevich, to represent the Fort Mill area.

DISTRICT 29

Republican incumbent Dennis Moss of Gaffney is running unopposed, to represent parts of Cherokee, Chester and York counties.

DISTRICT 30

Republican Steve Moss of Blacksburg is running unopposed for re-election, to represent parts of Cherokee and York counties.

DISTRICT 43

Democrat Tom Hawk of Rock Hill is running against Republican Randy Ligon of Chester to replace longtime state Rep. Greg Delleney in the seat representing Chester and York counties.

Delleney, Chester’s only resident representative, announced in early March he wouldn’t seek re-election after almost three decades in the state House of Representatives.

DISTRICT 45

Republican Brandon Newton of Lancaster is running for re-election against Corin Buskey of Rock Hill to the seat representing the Lancaster, Indian Land and Van Wyck areas.

DISTRICT 46

Republican incumbent Gary Simrill of Rock Hill is running against Democratic challenger Carl Kenny Dicks of Rock Hill, to represent parts of Rock Hill and the surrounding area.

DISTRICT 47

Republican Tommy Pope of York is running for re-election against Democrat Marty Cotton of Clover, to represent the York, Clover and Lake Wylie area.

DISTRICT 48

Republican incumbent Bruce Bryant of York is running against Democrat Vickie Holt of Rock Hill, to represent the Rock Hill, Tega Cay and Lake Wylie area.

DISTRICT 49

Democratic incumbent John King is running against Johnny Walker of Rock Hill, an American party challenger, to represent parts of York, Rock Hill and the surrounding area.

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot
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