By David Meade
State Senate District 4’s Republican primary race will be decided in a runoff on April 5 between Rockey Burgess and Mike Gambrell. The field was narrowed from five to two during the Mar. 22 primary for the special election. None of the five candidates received more than fifty percent of the vote, resulting in the runoff with the two top vote getters on Tuesday.
In-house absentee voting began Monday. Voters in the Senate 4 District, who qualify, and need to cast an absentee ballot for the Republican Run-off may do so during the hours of 8:30 until 5:00 p.m. weekdays. Polls will be open for voting 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Apr. 5.
Both candidates have been campaigning hard this week in an effort to win the senate seat.
“I’m very excited about this and I’m having a great time meeting a lot of people,” said Burgess who is running on a platform of more efficient, transparent and accountable government.
He is a lifelong resident of Williamston who worked as a master deputy with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office until 2005 when he left to form Autech LLC, a technology and communications company located in Williamston. He served eight years in the Army National Guard and is a recipient of the National Defense Medal. Burgess is serving his second term on Williamston Town Council.
Burgess will hold a campaign rally this Friday night at 6 p.m. in Mineral Spring Park in Williamston which will feature entertainment by the Jake Bartley Band.
The event is open to the public and everyone is invited to come enjoy the free live entertainment and meet the candidate between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Gambrell resides in Honea Path and has served in the State House of Representatives for 10 years. He is a member and former fire chief of the Friendship Fire Department. He operates M&R Enterprises.
Gambrell recenty received endorsements from Gayle O’Dell, widow of the late Senator Billy O’Dell, and former opponent in the Senate race, Greenwood Attorney Tripp Padgett.
“As always, I want to serve the people of this area and that’s whai I plan to do in the Senate,” Gambrell said.
The winner of the primary race will serve the final few months of O’Dell’s seat
The winner of the primary Tuesday will likely be the person to fill the seat since there were no Democrats seeking the office.
However the actual special election to fill the seat will be held May 17 to allow any write-in candidates an opportunity to seek the office.
The winner will serve the final few months of O’Dell’s seat, but will still have to participate in the June primaries and the November general election to be elected to serve the full term beginning in January.