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June 14 Primaries Will Be About Moving Forward As Candidates Vie For State and County Seats
6/1/2016 4:07:13 PM

Robert Brown
By Barney Blakeney

In two weeks, Charleston County Democratic and Republican voters will go to the polls to decide who will represent their respective parties in the November 8 general election. And while most incumbents do not face primary election challenges, several races will have substantial impact, especially in the African American community.

Perhaps the most prominent primary election will take place in S.C. Senate Dist. 42 where former Sen. Robert Ford is challenging his successor, Sen. Marlon Kimpson, in an effort recapture the seat he vacated in 2013 amid pending ethics violations charges.

Last year, Ford pled guilty to four charges against him, alleging he violated rules regarding the spending of campaign funds.

Kimpson won the Oct. 1, 2013 special election to fill the Dist. 42 seat left vacant by Ford earlier that May. The outcome of the June 14 primary election likely will determine who ultimately will represent the district since there is no challenging candidate on the ballot in November.

Kimpson said the June 14 primary election is critical and voters need to be realize the election is taking place. Senate Dist. 42 is at the epicenter of an unprecedented emergence of commerce, Kimpson said. If the African American community ever is able to bridge the economic gap that exists between blacks and whites, Dist. 42 constituents will need someone at the table who is able to articulate the issues for those who historically have been disenfranchised, he said.

On the House side of the primary elections in Charleston County, only Hollywood Rep. Robert Brown is facing Democratic Party primary election challenge. He squares off against challenger Rev. Eric Mack, who in 2014 was elected to his first four-year term on Charleston County School Board in the S.C. House Dist. 116 Democratic primary.

Constituent Dist. 23 School Board Chair Charles Glover is challenging Carroll O’Neal for the Republican nomination.

Brown noted that since most of South Carolina’s legislative districts are so gerrymandered, few incumbents ever face opposition. But he welcomes the challenge in the House 116 district where about 60 percent of constituents are white.

The more they run against me, the better I become as a representative,” Brown said. He stands on his record of service to attract both black and white voters, he said.

There will be Democratic and Republican primary election challenges June 14 for the respective party nominations to seat a representative in Charleston County Council District 7. Former county school board chair Ruth Jordan will face Patrick Hall on the Democratic side while four Republicans including former Charleston County Republican Party Chair John Steinberger, Brantley Moody, Chris Cannon and Paul Gangarosa will face off in the district seat being vacated by Colleen Condon.

As the Dist. 7 communities of Ashleyville, Maryville, Lenevar and Orleans Woods face increasing redevelopment, Jordan said smart growth and effective traffic planning are key issues. The West Ashley district is where more blacks are homeowners than in any other area of the region, she said. For those middle class black families, constituent services such as police and fire protection and liveability are the issues she hopes to ride into office to become the second Black woman on the council and its third in the council’s history.

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