Reynolds tops GOP field; Rankin stuns in Dist. 2

Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds

Don Reynolds defeated three Republican challengers to win a second term as Laurens County Sheriff, while a veteran County Councilman was upset in Tuesday’s Primary Election.

Reynolds captured 52.2% of the unofficial tally with 6,073 votes to avoid a runoff for the GOP nomination. He defeated former sheriff Ricky Chastain (2,513 votes), former chief deputy Jarvis Reeder (1,822 votes) and veteran law enforcement officer Ted Richardson (1,230 votes).

Reynolds said he was happy to avoid a runoff and considered the victory a validation for the members of his department.

“I didn’t want to put my office through (a runoff),” he said. “Our people work really hard day-in and day-out, and I didn’t want the distraction for them.”

With no Democratic challenger, Reynolds will be the presumptive winner in November’s General Election.

All results from Tuesday night’s elections are unofficial until verified by the South Carolina Board of Elections.

Veteran County Councilman Joe Wood was defeated for the Republican nomination for his District 2 seat by political newcomer Luke Rankin. Rankin, 22, is an employee at SunTrust bank in Laurens.

“I’m brand new to this,” Rankin said. “I’m a young guy – a conservative Republican, and I want to make a difference here for the county. I’ve had a passion to do this for a long time, and the opportunity finally opened up, and it’s been an amazing ride. I’m excited to get to work for the people of District 2.”

Like Reynolds, Rankin will not face a Democratic challenger, and barring a successful write-in campaign in November will be the presumptive winner in District 2.

In the District 6 Democratic Primary, incumbent County Councilwoman Diane Anderson defeated challenger Arthur Lee Philson, Jr. 348-290.

Anderson, who will be unopposed in November, said she was happy to see the Primary Election come to a close.

“It was a tight race,” she said. “I’m happy to hold on to the seat for another term and work for the citizens of Laurens County.”

In District 7, former councilman and state representative David Tribble edged Brenda Stewart 749-710 for the GOP nomination and the right to face County Council Chairman David Pitts in November. Pitts was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

In another countywide election, Michelle Simmons defeated Mary Lauren Powers 6,030 votes to 5,407 to become the Clerk of Court, replacing the retiring Lynn Lancaster.

Simmons credited her five-point plan for improving systems in the clerk’s office.

“I’m so excited,” Simmons said. “I’m just ready to serve.”

Incumbent Doug Gilliam (R-Union) earned the GOP nomination for the District 42 seat in the state House of Representatives, defeating Union attorney Melinda Inman Butler with 70.8% of the vote (946-390).

In a special election for an at-large seat on the Gray Court Town Council, Carla Jeanine Shaw handily won a three-way race with 117 votes over Joy Neal Craine (26 votes) and David King (27 votes). The special election was necessitated due to the death of long-time Councilman Adolphus Brewster in March.

In statewide Primaries, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) won the GOP Primary with 67.6% of the vote, fending off challengers Michael Lapierre, Joe Reynolds and Duke Buckner.

In U.S. House District 3, Hosea Cleveland won the Democratic bid over Mark Welch for the right to challenge Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens) in November.

Leave a Comment