A total of 10 candidates have offered up their names to seek the South Carolina House of Representatives District 70 seat in the upcoming special election, including three candidates from Sumter County.
Filing closed at noon Monday for potential office seekers to officially declare they were seeking their party’s nomination, and of the 10 people running, nine will be competing against each other in the heavily-contested Democratic Party primary.
Those candidates seeking the Democratic nomination include seven from Richland County – Wendy Brawley, Norman Jackson and George B. Wilson of Hopkins, Erin Vance Brown and H. Health Hill of Eastover, Harry Reese Sr. of Columbia, and Levola S. Taylor of Gadsden – and two from Sumter County – Jermaine Walker of Pinewood and Patrick Morris of Sumter.
These nine candidates will face off in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 2, and, barring the unlikely event that one of the candidates earns more than half of the total vote, the top two vote-getters will face off head-to-head two weeks later on Tuesday, May 16. The winner of that runoff will then go on to face Republican nominee Bill Strickland of Sumter in the special election June 20.
As the only Republican candidate, Strickland is already guaranteed his party’s nomination, meaning there will not be a Republican Party primary for the race.
District 70 represents roughly the eastern portion of Richland County and the western portion of Sumter County, which slightly more than two-fifths of the registered voters living in the Sumter County portion.
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.
Voters wishing to participate in the primaries must be registered to vote by April 2.
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.