LAKE WYLIE —
The only local primary vote in Lake Wylie also proved the most decisive among all county contests, further narrowing the field heading into the more widely-contested November general election.
Republican winner Tommy Pope earned 1,992 votes from the 16 precincts deciding the state House District 47 contest, besting fellow party members Vance Stine (583) and Brett Boyd (229) with 71 percent of the vote. District 47 covers parts of Rock Hill, Clover and Lake Wylie, with local precincts Allison Creek, Bethel No. 1, Bethel School, Mill Creek, Pole Branch and Wylie included. Pope now faces incumbent Herb Kirsh, a Democrat and the longest-serving legislator in Columbia, for the seat Nov. 2.
“To win outright with no runoff is a true honor,” Pope said Thursday on his campaign blog. “With all the nastiness happening in South Carolina politics, I’m thrilled that this race never went negative. I want to thank Vance Stine and Brett Boyd for running such honorable and issue-driven campaigns.”
In addition to statewide and federal offices, voters will see more local choices on the November ballot. In addition to Kirsh and Pope in District 47, incumbent Republican Ralph Norman faces Libertarian Stan Smith for the House District 48 seat, which represents Lake Wylie precincts not covered by District 47. School board races will be contested, though filing for those positions doesn’t begin until August. Lake Wylie’s seat on York County Council, District 2, lists only one candidate in Republican Bruce Henderson, though at least two potential petition candidates – Clover engineer Joe Baird and former Clover Mayor Donnie Burris – expressed an interest in submitting signatures to put their names on the ballot by the July 15 deadline.
“Everyone deserves a choice,” Burris said. “We have a great area and a great community in Lake Wylie and Clover, and we need to make sure we keep it that way.”
On the federal level, the U.S. House seat occupied by Rep. John Spratt will be up for vote in November with Spratt facing Mick Mulvaney. With only one Democrat and one Republican for that seat, no primary was necessary.
In other parts of York County and the state, indecisive primary results mean runoffs June 22. Just on the Republican side, posts requiring a runoff include county council Districts 1, 3 and 6, along with statewide offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, attorney general and superintendent of education. So many runoffs made the June 22 ballot that the York County Republican Party planned a special Runoff Candidate Forum set for Thursday in Rock Hill.
“Voters are encouraged to choose another candidate to support if their favorite going into the primary is not one of the two on the runoff ballot,” said Glenn McCall, county party chair.
No runoff is necessary for local or statewide Democrat candidates. Diane Carr, Lake Wylie resident and communications director for the York County Republican Party, said she expects the upcoming forum to be well-attended.
“All of the local candidates in a runoff for county council are attending,” she said last week. “We’re working on the statewide candidates and have no firm commitments yet from any of them. They are working on scheduling trying to get to as many events as possible crammed into one day.”
Countywide, almost 20,000 voters – or almost 16 percent of all registered voters – turned out to cast ballots either as Republicans or Democrats. The Bethel No. 2 precinct at River Hills paced all Lake Wylie area ballot boxes with 462 participants, ranking second among 89 York County precincts in total votes cast and seventh in turnout percentage, with 22.92 percent.
The seven remaining area polling locations ranged from only 57 voters for a 9.3 percentage in the Wylie district to 380 voters for 18.73 percent at Allison Creek. Pacing the three new precincts collecting votes for the first time – Mill Creek, Pole Branch and Wylie – were Pole Branch in total votes cast (126) and Mill Creek in turnout rate (12.5 percent).
The York County Republican Party will host a Runoff Candidate Forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Magnolia Room at Laurel Creek, 4017 Laurel Creek Drive in Rock Hill. The event includes a meet and greet with the candidates prior to the forum. Invited participants include Nikki Haley and Gresham Barrett for Governor; Ken Ard and Bill Connor for Lt. Governor; Leighton Lord and Alan Wilson for attorney general; Mick Zais and Elizabeth Moffly for superintendent of education; David Bowman and Kyle Boyd for York County Council Dist. 1; Eric Winstead and Joe Cox for County Council Dist. 3 and Britt Blackwell and Buddy Motz for County Council Dist. 6.Debbie’s Dawgs will sell hot dogs, bratwurst, chips and drinks before the Candidate Forum outside the Magnolia Room in the back parking lot. The event is free and open to the public.