By Stan Welch
There were few surprises in the various county and Upstate area races Tuesday. Perhaps the greatest surprise was the fifty three per cent voter turnout, almost five times the level reached during the primaries.
Republicans did predictably well, with Governor McMaster easily defeating James Smith, with sixty nine per cent of the vote. Other state results were similar with Mark Hammond defeating Melvin Whittenburg for Secretary of State with seventy two percent of the vote, while Curtis Loftis retained his state treasurer’s position with seventy one per cent, defeating Rosalyn Glenn.
Incumbent attorney general Alan Wilson won seventy per cent of the vote in defeating Constance Anastopoul.
In an unusual scenario, both Glenn and Anastopoul received votes via two distinct positions on the ballot. Both were listed as Democrats as well as candidates for the Working Families party. In a practice known as fusion voting, the two candidates were allowed to total the votes they received under the two listings. Voters could not vote for the candidate under both listings, but the votes could be combined. Neither candidate was successful, and they were the only two on the ballot who were offered under two party listings.
Richard Eckstrom, the incumbent comptroller general, was unopposed, while Molly Mitchell Spearman won the Superintendent of Education office with seventy three per cent of the vote. Hugh Weathers easily defeated two opponents with eighty three per cent of the vote to remain as agriculture commissioner.
On the Congressional level Jeff Duncan easily retained his District 3 seat in the House of Representatives.
In the S.C. House races, incumbents Brian White, Jonathon Hill, Anne Thayer, and Craig Gagnon retained their seats, while newcomers Jay West and West Cox both won House seats on their first try.
Martha Newton won another term as probate judge, while County Council members Craig Wooten (D1), Gracie Floyd(D2), Ray Graham(D3), Tommy Dunn(D5), and Cindy Wilson (D7) won re-election, while unopposed newcomers Brett Sanders (D4) and Jimmy Davis (D6) won their seats.
The District One school board elections saw Melissa Ellison Hood win sixty per cent of the votes in defeating Jonathan Pack. Pat Cox ran unopposed, as did Nancy Upton.
In the closest race of the night, newcomer Wendy Burgess defeated Doug Atkins with fifty one per cent of the vote.
A local proposition to impose a countywide hospitality tax was defeated by a two to one margin, while two measures allowing for the Sunday sales of alcohol passed with almost sixty per cent of the votes.
A statewide amendment to make the Superintendent of Education an appointed post was soundly defeated by a two to one margin. That position will continue to be filled by election.
By Stan Welch