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Democrats On Rebound To Regain Countywide Seats
7/10/2013 1:04:25 PM

Peter Tecklenburg, County Auditor

Charleston County Democrats are excited about the July 1 installation of Peter Tecklenburg as the county’s new auditor. Tecklenburg became the first Democrat to be elected to a countywide office in some 20 years. Democrats say his election signals the beginning of the end of Republican control of countywide offices.

Although five of Charleston County Council’s nine members are Democrats, until Tecklenburg’s election all countywide offices have been won by Republicans for about the past two decades.

Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Hricik said Democrats are poised to recapture countywide offices.

Democrats carried Charleston County in the past two presidential election cycle. And the county’s Democrats won the battle in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Democrat Vincent Sheheen won Charleston County though he lost the state-wide election to Republican Nikki Haley.

Hricik said that indicates Democrats have the potential to win countywide seats. They just haven’t tried.

“We haven’t run anybody. That’s been part of the problem,” he said.

That could change with the 2014 elections, Hricik believes. Tecklenburg’s election sounds the clarion call to go on the attack to win the Register of Mense Conveyance and probate judge offices. Democrats represent the majority of voters in Charleston County, he said, capturing those and other countywide offices are realistic goals. 

John Steinberger, acting chairman for Charleston County’s Republican Party, said his party also will be on the offensive in 2014.

Beginning with the S.C. Senate Dist. 42 Oct. 1 special election, Charleston County Republicans will do a better job of reaching out to voters.

Grassroots efforts to protect the seats already held by Republicans will be matched with efforts to capture some seats held be Democrats, Steinberger said.

He noted the House Dist. 119 seat currently held by Democrat Leon Stavrinakis formerly was held by Republican John Graham Altman for about 20 years.

“There’s no reason why Republicans can’t go after and win that seat,” Steinberger said. He said Republicans also will mount serious challenges to Charleston and Mount Pleasant mayoral seats which although are elected non-partisan, currently are held by prominent Democrats.

He believes traditional Democrat voters in Charleston County will get behind Republican candidates with whom they share conservative views. 

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