The Daily Gamecock

Column: Educate yourself early this midterm season

<p>A graphic of South Carolina congressional districts, who is running in each district and who is running for certain highly anticipated positions on November 8.&nbsp;</p>
A graphic of South Carolina congressional districts, who is running in each district and who is running for certain highly anticipated positions on November 8. 

After the results of the South Carolina primaries, it's essential for all South Carolina residents to educate themselves about and vote in the game-changing midterm elections coming up on Nov. 8. 

The U.S. midterm elections will determine all the House of Representative seats, numerous Senate seats, Governor positions and many state positions. It will be one of the most important midterm elections so far because of the polarization in this country. 

“It sort of reflects itself, between the House and Senate, how the campaigns operate, and then also how the voters are, and so there's layers of polarization when you start to unpack it," Joshua Meyer-Gutbrod, a political science instructor at USC, said.

South Carolina had an eventful primary on June 14 with some definite divide. Here's a breakdown of what happened in each major primary election in South Carolina. 

Governor's race

In no surprise, incumbent Henry McMaster won the Republican primary

The actual race was the Democratic primary. Joe Cunningham, a former U.S. House of Representatives member won against Mia McLeod, a South Carolina state senator. 

This primary was just the first obstacle for Cunningham. Running against an incumbent and a Republican in a Republican state will be an uphill battle for the Democratic primary winner.

This election is one of the most important for South Carolina. Residents need to keep in mind the recent rise in inflation can't be blamed on any politician. However, according to Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist with the Darla Moore School of Business at USC, this is due to a multitude of reasons with COVID-19 as well as supply and demand issues.  

“These are pocketbook issues that affect South Carolinians and so this is at the forefront of their minds when they’re looking at policies that the candidates are proposing and how those policies can potentially help or harm those challenges that they're currently facing,” Von Nessen said. 

The Governor's race is something that needs to be on everyone's radars. South Carolina consistently ranks low in categories like education, crimes and corrections and infrastructure. 

South Carolina needs someone who will focus on these areas and Cunningham looks like that person. 

Senate Race

Incumbent Senator Tim Scott, a Republican, ran unopposed, giving him the spot in the midterms. Scott runs heavily on his pro-abortion agenda and strong religious values, which are very important in the South. 

"The Republican candidates whose faith is important to them kind of use this because they know that it appeals to their supporters, that it helps them to win elections," said Robert Oldendick, a political science professor at USC. 

Scott will be up against Krystle Matthews, the Democratic candidate. 

District one and seven-race

District one and district seven had a similar layout but very different results in their Republican primaries. 

The incumbents, Nancy Mace from district one and Tom Rice from district seven, were once Trump-endorsed candidates that lost his trust. This led to Trump backing Katie Arrington from district one and Russell Fry from district seven. While Mace defeated Arrington, Fry beat Rice, who was the only incumbent to lose his seat in the primary. 

Why did one Trump-backed candidate win and the other didn't? District seven is a much more conservative district than one, according to Oldendick. But the results show how powerful Trump's endorsements are. 

South Carolinians need to look past endorsements and read up on candidates' policies. 

Superintendent of Education

The Superintendent of Education Republican primary was another nail-biting race. The current Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearmen, nominated Kathy Maness, who lost against Ellen Weaver in a runoff. 

A new requirement for superintendents is all candidates need to have a master's degree. However, Weaver doesn't have a master's degree, which raises the question: Why was she allowed to run and win this runoff if she isn't qualified for the job? 

Weaver is currently taking classes to get the degree, but if she doesn't complete her courses before November, will she be disqualified or allowed to participate? 

These questions are left unanswered. 

Weaver is up against Democratic candidate Lisa Ellis.

It will be a sight to see if South Carolina will elect its first Democratic superintendent of education in almost 20 years or if Weaver will be able to complete her degree and secure the votes. 

For more information on South Carolina Primaries, check out Ballotpedia