With the long-awaited special election for the State House District 14 seat looming Tuesday, candidates Stewart Jones and Garrett McDaniel are entering the final stretch of their respective campaigns.
Polls will open in District 14 in Laurens and Greenwood counties at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m. Voters will choose between the Republican Jones and Democrat McDaniel.
Both candidates won their respective primary elections in March to advance to the special election. The special election was made necessary due to the resignation of Mike Pitts, who cited health reasons following the regular election this past November, resigned in early January weeks after being elected to a ninth consecutive term.
The final formal event of the campaign between the two Lauren County Councilmen will be a candidate forum scheduled for Thursday at the Coffee Roost on the Laurens Square scheduled for 5-7 p.m.
“I am excited to sit down with Stewart Jones to discuss the policy issues most pertinent to our district,” McDaniel said of the forum. “I hope we can have a candid conversation about how we can fix our overcrowded classrooms, increase teacher pay, invest more resources into our ailing roads, and the steps we can take to close the Medicare coverage gap.
“The Coffee Roost forum is a great opportunity for everyone in the community to learn more about my vision for the district and the leadership style I hope to bring to Columbia if I am elected on April 23rd.”
Jones said he is excited to return to the Coffee Roost for the forum and one last chance to connect with voters.
“I always love talking to the voters,” he said. “It’s going to be a good event. The Roost is a good venue, and we’re excited about it.
Both Jones and McDaniel said they feel that their campaigns have gained momentum as the special election draws near.
“We’ve had a lot of support out there, and we’ve been gaining momentum,” Jones said. “We’ve been speaking with people door to door, making calls, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
McDaniel and his campaign have been at work on the traditional grassroots level and on social media to gain support throughout the district and energize local Democrats.
He said he believes the campaign’s efforts are also paying dividends.
“We’ve just been working hard, getting out and knocking on doors,” McDaniel said. “We’ve been directly contacting the doors and seeing what their concerns are. With such a large district, I hadn’t been in contact with many of the people I would be representing, so it’s been good to meet people and put a face with the candidate.”
The McDaniel campaign will be streaming Thursday night’s forum via Facebook Live.