By Barney Blakeney
Despite rallying calls from some of North Charleston’s most well-known politicos, S.C. House Dist. 109 candidate James Johnson lost his bid to succeed Rep. David Mack in one of the most contentious elections of the season. Political newcomer Deon Tedder defied the odds to pull out a victory over Johnson despite challenges to his non-native status in the city. Fifty-six percent of about 1,600 voters in the district cast ballots for Tedder.
Johnson and Tedder went to the runoff after receiving the two top number of votes in the June 9 primary that also included Jeff Wilder. Although Wilder threw his support to Johnson, Tedder still came out ahead of Johnson, who also had support from former mayoral candidate John Singletary and former probate court judge candidate Stephanie Ganaway-Pasley.
Though he was challenged as a non-native, Tedder was the only attorney among the candidates seeking election to the S.C. House Dist. 109 seat. Still he faced an uphill struggle against Johnson who is a North Charleston native and has worked in various roles as a community activist the past 30 years. Johnson currently is South Carolina National Action Network President.
Tedder, a Durham, North Carolina native, is a graduate of South Carolina State University who came to the state at age 18. He went on to attend the University Of South Carolina School Of Law and graduated with a law degree in 2015. Tedder started his professional career as an attorney in Charleston in 2017. He joined David Aylor Law Offices as an attorney in June 2018.
He said in a previous interview, “It’s time for a new generation of leadership. I’m passionate about advocating for people and will be a voice for the voiceless. It’s what I’ve always done and what I do every day in my job. I think it’s important that we have lawyers in the legislature representing our community – people who will listen and find solutions, but also who are professionals who know the jargon and can navigate through the hidden agendas.” Among his top priorities are education, criminal justice reform, economic justice, access to quality healthcare and affordable housing.
Two other races were decided in the June 23 runoff elections. In House Dist. 115 Democrat Spencer Wetmore bested Carol Tempel by fewer than 20 votes. Republican Josh Stokes won his party’s nomination to compete for the seat in November. At the county level Rob Wehrman bested Jesse Williams to fill the Charleston County Council Dist. 3 seat.