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Legislative Update: Election results on the local level will matter to SCAHACC - SCALT
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Legislative Update: Election results on the local level will matter to SCAHACC

November 9, 2016

The 2017-2018 Session of the South Carolina Legislature will welcome many new legislators to the State House in January after several retirements and incumbent upsets in the June primaries.

The Senate Republican majority remains unchanged at 28-18 and the House Republican majority increased by two seats to 80-44 after the wins of Rick Martin in the 40th District and Lin Bennett in the 114th District.

Sunday alcohol sales referendums were approved in multiple cities, towns, and counties yesterday:


Senate Newcomers

Former Representative Rex Rice (R) defeated Senator Larry Martin (R-Pickens, District 2) in a primary runoff in June and faced no opposition in November. Senator Martin was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Rice previously served in the South Carolina House from 1995 to 2010, where he served as second vice chair on the House Ways and Means Committee.


William Timmons (R) defeated Senator Mike Fair (R-Greenville, District 6) in a primary runoff race. Mr. Timmons then defeated Ray Magnuson (C) in the general election to win the seat.  A former Assistant Solicitor in Greenville County, Mr. Timmons now owns and operates Swamp Rabbit CrossFit.


Former Representative Scott Talley (R) defeated Senator Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg, District 12) in a primary runoff in June and faced no opposition in November. Mr. Talley previously served in the South Carolina House for eight years and currently owns and operates a law practice in Spartanburg.


Wes Climer (R) defeated Senator Wes Hayes (R-York, District 15) in a primary and did not face an opponent in the general election. Mr. Climer is a financial advisor with the Climer Group of Wells Fargo in Charlotte, NC and previously served as Chairman of the York County Republican Party.


Mike Fanning (D) defeated Senator Creighton Coleman (D-Fairfield, District 17) in a primary runoff, then defeated Mark Palmer (R) in November to secure the seat. Mr. Fanning serves as the executive director of the Olde English Consortium, a nonprofit organization founded to improve education and economic development in the north central region of South Carolina.


Representative Mia McLeod (D-Richland, District 79) defeated Richland District 2 School Board member Susan Brill (R) in the general election to win the Richland County seat previously held by Senator Joel Lourie (D-Richland, District 22) who did not seek reelection. Ms. McLeod represented Richland County in District 79 in the South Carolina House for six years prior to announcing her campaign for Senate.


Representative Stephen Goldfinch (R-Georgetown, District 108) will assume the seat previously held by retiring Senator Ray Cleary (R-Georgetown, District 34). Representative Goldfinch did not face opposition in November, but he defeated Reese Boyd (R) in a primary runoff race to win the seat. Representative Goldfinch served in the South Carolina House for four years and served on the Judiciary Committee. He is a founding partner at the firm of Goldfinch Winslow, LLC.


Sandy Senn (R) will assume the seat previously held by retiring Senator Paul Thurmond (R-Charleston, District 41). She had no November opposition, but defeated Roy Maybank (R) in a primary runoff race to win the seat. Ms. Senn is the managing partner of a Senn Legal LLC, where she frequently represents public servants. She also served as General Counsel for the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association.

Senate Incumbents Retaining Seats After Challenges

Senators who faced November general election opposition, but retained their seats include:

  • Mike Gambrell (R-Anderson, District 4) defeated both primary challenger Rockey Burgess then November challenger Mark Powell (D)
  • Karl Allen (D-Greenville, District 7) defeated Glen Robinson (R)
  • Floyd Nicholson (D-Greenwood, District 10) defeated Bryan Hope (R)
  • Glenn Reese (D-Spartanburg, District 11) defeated Cornelius Huff (R)
  • John Courson (R-Richland, District 20) defeated two general election challengers, Tom Reddick (D) and Scott West (C)
  • Minority Leader Nikki Setzler(D-Lexington, District 26) defeated Brad Lindsey (R)
  • Kevin Johnson (D-Clarendon, District 36) defeated Leon Wynn (R)


Senators who faced primary opposition, but retained their seats in June include:

  • Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson, District 3) defeated Carol Burdette
  • Tom Corbin (R-Greenville, District 5) defeated John B. White
  • Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee, District 14) defeated Kenny Price
  • John Scott (D-Richland, District 19) defeated Torrey Rush
  • Darrell Jackson (D-Richland, District 21) defeated Wendy Brawley
  • Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington, District 23) defeated two challengers, Michael Sturkie and Patricia Wheat
  • Majority LeaderShane Massey (R-Edgefield, District 25) defeated John Pettigrew
  • Kent Williams (D-Marion, District 30) defeated Patrick Richardson
  • Senate President Pro TemporeHugh Leatherman (R-Florence, District 31) defeated two challengers, Dean Fowler and Richard Skipper
  • Luke Rankin (R-Horry, District 33) defeated Scott Pyle
  • Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley, District 37) defeated Mark Robin Heath
  • Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester, District 38) defeated Evan Guthrie
  • Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston, District 42) defeated Robert Ford
  • Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley, District 44) defeated Tony Coleman

House Newcomers

Jay West (R) will assume Senator Mike Gambrell’s vacant District 7 seat representing Anderson and Abbeville Counties after defeating two primary challengers. Mr. West co-owns a real estate appraisal firm and previously served as Vice President of Institutional Relations and Chaplain at Erskine College.


John McCravy (R) defeated Michael Gaskin (D) to win the seat vacated by Shannon Riley (R-Greenwood, District 13), who did not seek reelection. Mr. McCravy is a partner at McCravy Newlon & Sturkie Law Firm and previously served as Greenwood City Attorney.


Jason Elliott (R) defeated Representative Wendy Nanney (R-Greenville, District 22), then only faced last minutewrite-in opposition in the November election. Mr. Elliott began his career as an assistant solicitor, then served as district director for former Congressman Jim DeMint. He now owns and operates his own law practice in Greenville.


Steven Long (R) defeated Representative Donna Hicks (R-Spartanburg, District 37) in the June primary, then defeated Michael Pratt (D) in general election to take the Spartanburg seat. Mr. Long, 22, is an insurance agent at the Bright Agency in Spartanburg and a real estate agent at Up Realty in Spartanburg.


Twenty-four year old Josiah Magnuson (R) defeated Representative Doug Brannon (R-Spartanburg, District 38) in June and faced no opposition in the general election. Mr. Magnuson currently works in solar panel installation and serves as the Director of Americans for Constitutional Government (ACG).


Cal Forrest (R) defeated Representative Ralph Kennedy, Jr. (R-Lexington, District 39) in the June primary and Tillman Gives (D) in the November election. Mr. Forrest manages Price’s Metal Shop in Monetta and owns an outdoor and firearms store.


Rick Martin (R) defeated Carlton Kinard (D) to win the seat of retiring Representative Walt McLeod (D-Newberry, District 40). Mr. Martin is the owner of Newberry’s Battery Outlet, which serves customers across the Southeast.


Brandon Newton (R), 22, defeated Tyler Mitchell (D), 23, to win the seat of Representative Deborah Long (R-Lancaster, District 45), who did not seek reelection. Mr. Newton is the manager of student life at USC-Lancaster and has served in the Lancaster County Republican Party.


Will Wheeler (D) will assume the seat vacated by Representative Grady Brown (D-Lee, District 50) after defeating five Democratic primary candidates and surviving a runoff in June. Mr. Wheeler is an attorney in the Bishopville firm of Jennings & Jennings.


Lucas Atkinson (D) defeated two primary challengers in June and Ethan Brown (R) in the November election to win the seat of retiring Representative Wayne George (D-Marion, District 57). Mr. Atkinson is a business service consultant who currently works with iMpact Marion County, a grassroots community organization seeking to develop the area’s workforce.


Ivory Thigpen (D) defeated two primary challengers in June, then Donald Miles (R) and Victor Kocher (L) in the November election to take the seat of Representative Mia McLeod (D-Richland, District 79), who was elected to the Senate. Dr. Thigpen is a licensed Chiropractic Physician, owner and operator of the Restore Chiropractic Family Wellness Center, and the pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Columbia.


Bart Blackwell (R) will assume the seat vacated by Representative Don Wells (R-Aiken, District 81) after a four way primary race and runoff in June. Mr. Blackwell served in the U.S. Air Force and now owns B&S Machine Tool, Inc., which specializes in machining and fabrication services.


Micah Caskey (R) won the seat vacated by retiring Representative Kenny Bingham (R-Lexington, District 89) after winning a four way primary and runoff in June and defeating Rosemounda “Peggy” Butler (D) and Robert Lampley (C) in the general election. Mr. Caskey is a Marine Corps veteran who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, one while completing his law degree. He also served the 11th Judicial Circuit as an Assistant Solicitor and now owns and operates his own law practice in West Columbia.


Katie Arrington (R) defeated Damian Daly (D) in the November general election after winning a June primary to take the seat vacated by Representative Jenny Anderson Horne (R-Dorchester, District 94) who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the 1st District. Ms. Arrington is the Vice President of Sales Operations for Dispersive Technologies, Inc., a cyber security solutions provider and defense contractor.


William S. Cogswell, Jr. (R) will assume the seat of Representative Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston, District 110) who did not seek reelection. Mr. Cogswell won a five way primary and defeated Alice Wakefield (D) in November. Mr. Cogswell is the owner and operator of WECCO, a development company that specializes in historic renovation of commercial properties.


Lin Bennett (R) will take the seat of Representative Mary Tinkler (D-Charleston, District 114), who was elected Charleston County Treasurer. Ms. Bennett, a businesswoman and former Charleston County GOP Chair, defeated Bob Aubin (D) in the November election.


Michael F. Rivers, Sr. (D) will assume the seat vacated by retiring Kenneth Hodges (D-Colleton, District 121) after winning a June primary and defeating James Broderick (R) in the November general election. Mr. Rivers, an ordained minister and veteran, previously served on the Beaufort County School Board for 18 years.

House Incumbents Returning to Columbia After Challenges

Representatives who faced November general election opposition, but retained their seats include:

  • Gary Clary (R-Pickens, District 3) defeated Travis McCurry (L)
  • David Hiott (R-Pickens, District 4) defeated Joey Lum (L)
  • Jonathon Hill (R-Anderson, District 8) defeated Barbara Jo Mullis (D) after winning a three way primary in June
  • Anne Thayer (R-Anderson, District 9) defeated Mary Geren (D)
  • Joshua Putnam (R-Anderson, District 10) defeated Anna Brown (D)
  • Anne Parks (D-Greenwood, District 12) defeated Jennings G McAbee, Jr. (R)
  • Samuel Rivers, Jr. (R-Berkeley, District 15) defeated KJ Kearney (D) after winning a June primary
  • Mark Willis (R-Greenville, District 16) defeated Brandon Greene (D)
  • Leola Robinson-Simpson (D-Greenville, District 25) defeated Tony Boyce (Independence)
  • Raye Felder (R-York, District 26) defeated Jim Thompson (D)
  • Harold Mitchell (D-Spartanburg, District 31) defeated Michael Fowler (R)
  • Mike Forrester (R-Spartanburg, District 34) defeated Luke Quillen (D)
  • Mike Anthony (D-Union, District 42) defeated Tommy Mann (R)
  • Tommy Pope (R-York, District 47) defeated Diane Phelps Simmons (C)
  • Richie Yow (R-Chesterfield, District 53) defeated Victor Li (D)
  • Pat Henegan (D-Marlboro, District 54) defeated J.D. Chaplin (R)
  • Jeff Johnson (R-Horry, District 58) defeated John Ward (D)
  • Rick Quinn (R-Lexington, District 69) defeated Michael Robert Petrone (D) after a primary challenge in June
  • Kirkman Finlay (R-Richland, District 75) defeated Tyler Gregg (D)
  • Justin T. Bamberg (D-Bamberg, District 90) defeated Dan Lawrence (R) after winning a June primary
  • Kit Spires (R-Lexington, District 96) defeated Robert Vanlue (D) after a June primary challenge
  • Sylleste Davis (R-Berkeley, District 100) defeated Tonia Aiken-Taylor (D)
  • Robert Brown (D-Charleston, District 116) defeated Carroll O’Neal (R) after winning a primary in June
  • Bill Herbkersman (R-Beaufort, District 118) defeated Alfred North (American)
  • Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston, District 119) defeated Lee Edwards (R)
  • Shannon Erickson (R-Beaufort, District 124) defeated Bobby Green (D)


Representatives who faced primary opposition, but retained their seats in June include:

  • Neal Collins (R-Pickens, District 5) defeated Rick Tate
  • Dr. Robert Ridgeway (D-Clarendon, District 64) defeated two challengers, Alex Conyers and Mitch Ellerby
  • Nathan Ballentine (R-Richland, District 71) defeated Bill Malinowski
  • Joe McEachern (D-Richland, District 77) defeated Raymond Mars
  • Jimmy Bales (D-Richland, District 80) defeated two challengers, Brian Burke and Lawrence Moore
  • Chip Huggins (R-Lexington, District 85) defeated Bryan Clifton
  • Mac Toole (R-Lexington, District 88) defeated David Busby
  • Jerry Govan (D-Orangeburg, District 95) defeated Kevin Ray
  • Carl Anderson (D-Georgetown, District 103) defeated Dewon Huggins
  • Mike Sottile (R-Charleston, District 112) defeated Patrick Cloud
  • Bill Bowers (D-Hampton, District 122) defeated  Shedron Williams in a primary runoff