By Barney Blakeney
Barely an hour after the polls closed September 5 on the Democratic primary elections to field a candidate to fill the unexpired term in S.C. House Dist. 113, North Charleston attorney Marvin Pendarvis was declared the winner. Pendarvis handily beat rivals Angela Hanyak and Charleston County School Board member, Rev. Chris Collins. Pendarvis will face the Republican Party primary winner, Theron Sandy, II in the November 7 general election. The Democrats are favored to win the majority Black district Rep. J Seth Whipper held virtually unchallenged for 23 years until resigning the seat in July.
A low voter turnout was anticipated in the massive House Dist. 113 which extends from North Charleston’s Park Circle community to Lincolnville in Dorchester County. Just over 1,700 ballots were cast. Pendarvis was viewed as the heir apparent, but he left no stones unturned in his quest for the Democratic nomination. He expected competition for the seat. And the competition was formidable – Collins served three terms on Charleston County School Board, Hanyak is in marketing. Sandy also is an attorney. He vows to continue working hard to get elected.
“People are bringing a lot of skills to the table. There’s a good mix of people offering themselves. This is a good district and it’s good that people want to serve and continue the legacy Whipper established as well as to chart a course themselves,” Pendarvis said.
His unsuccessful run at the North Charleston City Council Dist. 8 seat in the 2015 gave him campaign experience. And since then he’s stayed busy learning his way around the political arena. He’s a member of several civic boards and organizations including North Charleston Zoning Board of Appeals, Black Expo Charleston Advisory Board and Low Country Alliance of Model Communities.
Pendarvis is a product of North Charleston public schools graduating from Garrett Academy in 2007. He earned degrees from the University of South Carolina and later the University of South Carolina School of Law. Pendarvis currently is practicing law with The Curry Law Firm in North Charleston where he specializes in Civil Litigation and Criminal Defense. In 2015 he sought the municipal election.
After Tuesday’s victory Pendarvis said, “I’m thankful and excited, but I understand this is only the beginning, the first step. I’m asking those who supported me to continue to be involved. I don’t count my chickens before they hatch. We learned in 2016 that races can be lost, that Republicans can win when they’re not expected to and that anything can happen. We will continue our momentum with the same campaigning that won this victory,” he said.