Friday, March 21, 2014
Election season has officially begun, as of March 16 at noon when filing for candidacy opened.
In the few days since politicians have already begun making campaign announcements, platform speeches and hammering political signs into the ground.
Several positions with Dorchester County constituencies are up for reelection this year.
In the State House of Representatives, terms representing Districts 94, 97, 98, 102, 109, 113 and 114 will expire this year. The incumbents are, respectively, Jenny Horne, Patsy Knight, Chris Murphy, Joseph Jefferson, David Mack III, Seth Whipper and Bobby Harrell.
At the county level, Dorchester County Council Districts 1, 2, 3 and 7 are up for reelection this year. Incumbents are, respectively, Willie Davis, David Chinnis, George Bailey and Jay Byars.
It’s still early in the filing period, but so far House Districts 94 and 98 have already seen some challengers. For District 94, incumbent Jenny Horne, lawyer Evan Guthrie and retired businessman Franklin Smith have all filed. For District 98, incumbent Chris Murphy and Dorchester County Councilman Larry Hargett have both filed. All of the candidates are members of the Republican Party.
Hargett and Smith launched their campaigns together on March 17 in downtown Summerville.
Hargett said his campaign will focus on financial integrity. Specifically, he mentioned the Local Government Fund, which sends counties and municipalities state funds each year for implementing state mandated programs, but has been suspended since 2010. He said if elected he will work to restore the fund to its full formula, ensuring local governments get the money they need and citizens aren’t subjected to double taxation.
When asked about challenging the incumbent, Hargett said, “Chris has been there four years, but he has a law practice to run, he’s a very busy guy.” Hargett mentioned he would have more time to commit to the position since he’s retired and said Murphy’s “[attendance] record speaks for itself.”
Murphy defeated Hargett in the race for the District 98 seat in 2010.
Candidate for District 94 Franklin Smith also announced his candidacy at the press conference. Smith said his campaign will be based on “local control over state control,” representing individuals and increasing fiscal responsibility in Columbia by helping to reduce “government waste.”
Within Dorchester County, Councilmen Willie Davis (D) and George Bailey (R) have both filed for reelection. Councilman Jay Byars (R) has announced his intent to file. So far the council incumbents are facing no challengers.
Candidates have until noon on March 30 to file.
The primary election will be held on June 10; citizens wishing to vote must register by May 10. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Oct. 4, with the general election taking place Nov. 4.