For the first time in over 30 years, Laurens County District 3 will not be represented by someone with the last name McDaniel on county council.
Shirley Clark won Tuesday’s Democratic Primary special election, handily defeating Lee McDaniel and William Kilgore, Jr. Clark will now face Republican Scott Tollison in the Sept. 21 special election. Tollison was not challenged for the GOP nomination, so no Republican Primary was held.
Clark easily avoided a runoff with 223 votes, 63.5% of the 351 ballots cast. McDaniel followed with 86 votes (23.6%) and Kilgore with 42 votes (12%). She won 11 precincts and tied McDaniel in Laurens 5 (seven votes each) and Maddens (14 votes each).
“My passion has always been getting to know your people,” Clark said after the votes were counted. “If you’re going to be a voice for the people, that means all people, and if I’m going to be that voice, I’ve got to get to know them – that’s what I’ve done. If you’re going to represent, you’ve got to represent whole-heartedly.”
Clark also thanked her Primary opponents and said she hoped everyone on the Democratic ticket can work together for the special election.
The special election came about due to the resignation of former councilman Garrett McDaniel, who accepted a post in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Garrett McDaniel succeeded his father, Ed McDaniel, as the District 3 representative on county council following the elder McDaniel’s death in 2015. Ed McDaniel was first elected to county council in 1989 and was its longest-serving councilman upon his passing.
Lee McDaniel ran in the Democratic Primary in an attempt to succeed his older brother, but District 3 voters stood behind Clark, whose LinkedIn profile lists her as founding director of Ms. Shirley’s Mission and as a transition driver for Laurens County School District 55.
Clark, a Laurens native, is also an ordained minister and first vice-president of the Laurens County Branch of the NAACP.