A busy Primary Election on Tuesday also includes a special election to fill a council seat in the Town of Gray Court.
In addition to the non-partisan Gray Court election, the Primary includes a four-way GOP race for Laurens County Sheriff, challenges in three Laurens County Council Districts and a Republican challenge for the South Carolina House of Representatives in District 42.
Incumbent Doug Gilliam (R-Union) is seeking re-election in District 42, which but faces a challenge from Union attorney Melinda Inman Butler.
The campaign for District 42, which is largely in Union County but includes portions of Clinton and southern Laurens County, was interrupted in mid-May after Butler’s husband, Jason, died on May 15 at the age of 44.
Both candidates suspended their campaigns as Butler grieved.
“It was the right thing to do,” Gilliam said of his decision to suspend his campaign. “My character, my integrity and the Lord’s spirit made me do the right thing.”
Butler thanked Gilliam on social media for his decision and began campaigning again in late May as the state continued to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the trying times we are facing as a state and a nation, leaders are key,” Butler said. “Leaders are made, not born. Leaders learn and grow every day. Leaders recognize they are a work in progress. Leaders expect curves, roadblocks and obstacles and are always making decisions which allow them to best navigate the course. Leaders are planted on a firm foundation, standing strong for what is right. Leaders focus on the task at hand. Leaders are essential.”
Gilliam said he has learned much and is proud of his voting record at the end of his freshman term in the state house.
“I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve gotten a lot of things accomplished,” he said. “I’ve been able to help many people and cut through the bureaucracy. Sometimes that is all it takes to help someone.”
A crowded field of three Republican hopefuls are challenging incumbent Don Reynolds for Laurens County Sheriff. The challengers include former sheriff Ricky Chastain, former Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder and veteran local officer Ted Richardson.
Diane Anderson faces a challenge in the Democratic Primary for her District 6 seat from Arther Lee Philson, Jr. Clinton’s Brenda Stewart and David Tribble are facing off in the Republican Primary for the right to challenge County Council Chairman David Pitts in November’s General Election in District 7.
In District 2, which represents the Ware Shoals area, Council Vice-Chairman Joe Wood is being challenged by Luke Rankin in the Republican Primary.
The Gray Court special election was necessitated by the death of long-time Councilman Adolphus Brewster in early March. Brewster, who was 72 when he died following an illness, served on the Gray Court Town Council for more than three decades. Joy Neal Crane, David King and Carla Shaw are running to fill the vacant at-large seat on council.