Halfway through the ten-day filing period for the upcoming special election for South Carolina State House District 70, and four Richland County area Democrats have officially declared their intentions to seek the seat.
So far, no candidates from Sumter County, which accounts for about 42 percent of the voters in the district spanning Sumter and Richland Counties, have filed to seek the office. No Republicans in either county have filed to seek the open seat in a district which typically votes heavily Democratic.
The candidates officially filing their paperwork to run so far are Wendy Brawley of Hopkins, H. Health Hill of Eastover, Harry Reese Sr. of Columbia and Levola S. Taylor of Gadsden. A fifth candidate – Reuben Martin of Hopkins – filed paperwork to run, but has already withdrawn from the race.
District 70 represents roughly the eastern portion of Richland County and the western portion of Sumter County. As we pointed out in a previous story, because of the conditions surrounding the District 70 race – specifically the fact the election will coincide with a federal election on the Sumter County ballot but not on the Richland County ballot – mean this could be the first time where there are more Sumter County voters than Richland County voters influencing this race.
The District 70 seat became open after the unexpected death last month of longtime representative Joe Neal, who had served the district in the South Carolina General Assembly since 1993.
Filing for both the state house race, and the U.S. Rep. District 5 race, opened March 3 and will continue until March 13. The initial primaries will be on Tuesday, May 2, and any necessary primary runoffs will be Tuesday, May 16. The respective nominees from each party will then face off in the final special election June 20.
Voters wishing to participate in the primaries must be registered to vote by April 2.
The Sumter County precincts within the House District 70 borders are: Horatio, Hillcrest, Oakland Plantation 1 & 2, Dalzell 1, McCray’s Mill 1 & 2, Delaine, Manchester Forest, Pinewood and St. Paul. Some of these precincts, however, are split between House seats, meaning only a portion voters within the precinct live within the boundaries.
This link with the South Carolina State House can help local voters find out within which district they live.