Campaigns for the upcoming South Carolina primary elections are in full swing. The June 10 primaries will determine which candidates will participate in the general election on November 4 and will set the tone for local political discussions. Primary ballots will include elections for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate, State House, School Board and State Executive offices.
The voter registration deadline to participate in the primary was on May 10, but if you missed the cutoff, you can participate in the general election if you register by October 4.
State Executive Offices
According to the Post and Courier, Tom Ervin, who originally filed to run in the Republican primary, is now running as a petition candidate. He will need 10,000 petition signatures by July 15 in order to participate in the general election against Gov. Nikki Haley, Democratic candidate state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Libertarian Steve French, and United Citizens candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves. Ervin, who joined the gubernatorial race only 36 hours before the filing deadline, describes himself as an independent Republican.
The position of Lieutenant Governor position was recently left vacant after Glenn McConnell resigned in order to become president of the College of Charleston. According to the AP, four Republicans will compete for his position in the June 10 primary: businessman Pat McKinney, former state attorney general Henry McMaster, retired Army chaplain Ray Moore, and Mike Campbell, the son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell. The winner of the GOP nomination will face Democratic candidate state Rep. Bakari Sellers in November.
Superintendent of Education
With eight Republican and four Democratic candidates pursuing the office, the Superintendent race is crowded. According to The State, with so many candidates, a June 24 runoff election is likely. The central issues in this race are debates over education standards and school choice.
According to New York Times, Common Core has faced a great deal of opposition in South Carolina since it was adopted in 2010. The standards were used in South CarolinaSC classrooms this year, and were scheduled to be fully implemented in the 2015-2016 school year.
All eight Republican candidates favor repealing Common Core. According to the Charlotte Observer, some candidates, including Republican Amy Cofield, believe that the standards would institute a liberal curriculum, while candidate Elizabeth Moffly rejects them because of her belief that they are not as rigorous as some existing state standards. Republican candidate Sheri Few stated in a May 13 debate that she feels the implementation of Common Core would decrease beneficial competition between school systems.
School of choice is also a central issue in the Superintendent race. Currently, South Carolina has limited tax credit and voucher school choice options for private schools. According to the Charlotte Observer, many Republican candidates, including Meka Childs and Sheri Few, support expanding school choice options. According to The State, Democratic candidate Montrio Belton also supports school choice.
Some candidates have gained attention for including other unique and controversial stances in their campaigns. According to The State, Few has sparked statewide debate due to her support for abstinence-only sex education. Democratic candidate Sheila Gallagher has also garnered attention with her position that education should be funded by the legalization and heavy taxation of marijuana, while Democratic candidate Tom Thompson’s campaign stresses the importance of retaining teachers in rural school districts.
Both of South Carolina’s U.S. Senators, Republicans Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, will face primary challenges on June 10.
There will be a special election to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Jim DeMint in January 2013. Gov.Governor Nikki Haley appointed Sen. Scott to serve until these elections, and the winner will hold the seat for the two2 years remaining in the term.
In the Republican primary, Sen. Scott will face Randall Young in the election, a Republican candidate whose campaign presence has been minimal. Young essentially disappeared after paying his $10,440 filing fee in March. According to The Post and Courier, both state media and Republican Party leaders have tried and failed to make contact with Young.
Despite the minimal opposition, the incumbent has implemented a robust campaign centered on his belief in decreased government regulation of business, his rejection of the Affordable Care Act and belief in increased health care competition, and his support of pursuing domestic energy solutions.
There will also be a democratic primary for Sen. Scott’s seat. Joyce Dickerson, Richland County Council member and Chair of the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Sidney Moore, former York County Council member and state employee, and attorney Harry Pavilack will compete for the democratic nomination.
Sen. Graham will face opposition from six6 Republican candidates on June 10. State Sen. Lee Bright; business owners Richard Cash and Nancy Mace; pastor Det Bowers, and attorneys Bill Connor and Benjamin Dunn will all face Graham in the GOP primary.
With so many candidates, it is unlikely that a single contender will gain enough support to win the nomination from Sen.Graham on June 10. However, if the incumbent receives less than 50 percent% of voters’ support, there would be a runoff election between Graham and his leading competitor.
The GOP challengers’ campaigns emphasize their commitment to conservative values. According to the Post and Courier, Graham has been noted to be more moderate than many of his fellow Republican sSenators. According to his campaign website, state Sen. Bright has the support of state Tea Party leaders. Lowering taxes, simplifying tax codes, and reducing the size and scope of government are campaign themes for all of the GOP challengers.
There will also be a democratic primary for Graham’s seat on June 10. State Sen. Brad Hutto will face non profit leader Jay Stamper. According to The State, the South Carolina Democratic Party decided in May to endorse Hutto after learning of a felony plea in Stamper’s past.
U.S. House of Representatives
There are only two incumbent house representatives facing challenges in the primaries. According to The State, both Rep. Joe Wilson and Dem. James Clyburn have significantly more campaign funds than their competitors, giving both Congressmen electoral advantages.
2nd district Republican Primary
Incumbent Joe Wilson, who has held the seat since 2001, faces Eddie McCain, who ran against Wilson as a Libertarian in 2010. McCain served as a noncommissioned officer in the Army for 20 years.
The predominantly Republican 2nd District reaches from Columbia southwest to the Savannah River in the Aiken area.
2nd District Democratic Primary
Phil Black, who retired from the Federal Small Business Administration, will face Ed Greenleaf, who retired from BlueCross BlueSheild. According to The State*, Black ran as a Republican candidate for the same office in 2010 and 2012.
3rd District Democratic Primary
Hosea Cleveland, owner of a Seneca insurance agency, faces Barbara Jo Mullis, a retired teacher. The winner of the democratic nomination will go on to face Republican incumbent Jeff Duncan.
The Third district is in the Northwestern corner of the state
6th district Democratic Primary
Incumbent Jim Clyburn, who is pursuing his 12th term, faces Karen Smith. According to the Post and Courier, Smith describes herself as a “tea partier” and has voted in Republican primaries in recent years.
According to the State, Clyburn is the first African American representative from South Carolina since Reconstruction. He is also currently the Assistant Minority Leader in the House.
6th District Republican Primary
Leon Winn, a business owner and pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church, faces Anthony Culler, a banker.
The primary ballots will also include ballot measures, which are individual issues or questions on which citizens can vote directly.
There will be one advisory question, which, rather than impacting policy, will gauge public opinion on issues, on both the Republican and Democratic primaries. This question will be on the ballot for both the Democratic and Republican primaries.
There will also be a proposed constitutional amendment on the GOP primary ballot: South Carolina Appointment of Adjutant General Amendment. If passed, the amendment would make the South CarolinaSC Adjutant General, who is the head of the state Military Department, a position that is appointed by the South Carolina governor. Currently, it is an elected position. According to The State*, South Carolina is the only state in which this office is filled by elections.