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Several Local Races Mirror Trump’s Unanticipated Upset Victory
11/9/2016 4:32:37 PM

Tim Scott - U.S. Senate

Robert Brown - SC House Rep.

Chris Collins - School Board

Michael Miller - School Board

Kevin Hollinshead - School Board
By Barney Blakeney

Hillary Rodham Clinton fought hard to win Tuesday’s presidential election and came up short as Donald Trump pulled an upset victory. On the local level several victories were equally hard fought.

Charleston County Republican Party Chair Larry Kobrovsky called Trump’s victory bittersweet considering Republican showing locally. Trump’s win was reflected on the state level – Charleston County republicans won an additional seat on county council with Brantley Moody’s win over Ruth Jordan which gives republicans a majority. But losses in virtually every other countywide election amounted to a butt-kicking, he said.

Kobrozsky said Trump’s victory was unanticipated because he ran against a well financed, well organized Clinton campaign. Trump’s victory is a testament to how many across the nation feel. The win was a response to feelings of alienation, Kobrovsky said. He dispelled predictions of doom and gloom with a Trump administration saying he hopes people will listen to each other and hear each others’ stories in an effort to bridge the obvious divide that exists between urban and other communities.

Kobrovsky offered that Trump rode to victory on a wave of discontent and feelings of being dispossessed. But the awesomeness of governance is different from the art of campaigning, he said. He trusts Trump will employ an approach of working with those with whom he doesn’t agree. And Kobrovsky reminded that not all Republicans supported Trump’s candidacy.

Although projected to lose his bid for the South Carolina U.S. Senate seat against incumbent Sen. Tim Scott, soon after the polls closed Pastor Thomas Dixon like Trump, refused to assume he could not win. That’s where the similarity ended. Ultimately, Dixon’s candidacy succumbed to the onslaught from Scott’s well financed campaign.

Scott went on to win a full term to the seat he was appointed to in 2013 when Jim DeMint stepped down. In 2014 he won the seat in a special election. Scott won Tuesday’s election with about 60 percent of the vote.

Sixth Congressional District incumbent Rep. Jim Clyburn with about 72 percent of the vote handily won his re-election bid against three challengers. Republican Laura Sterling came closest to Clyburn with about 26 percent of the vote.

In Charleston County where some 57,000 of the county’s 277,000 registered voters cast early ballots and about 24 percent of voters participated in the election, S.C. House Dist. 116, incumbent Rep. Robert Brown faced his strongest opposition from Republican Carroll O’Neal since first being elected in 2000.

The 8-term Democrat won the seat when the rural western Charleston County district was majority black. Since Brown first was elected the district has transitioned into a slightly majority white district as development changed its racial demographics. Brown narrowly won the district with a slight margin of the total votes cast.

Changing demographics accounted for his narrow victory, Brown conceded, but strong crossover support achieved the victory, he said thanking the constituents who consistently have supported him.

Democrat Ruth Jordan attended her weekly Bible Study class Tuesday. She emerged to find her race tied during early reporting with challenger Republican Brantley Moody. Jordan fought hard to become the second black woman serving on the council and the third black woman ever to serve on the council. The race remained close throughout the tallying process, but Moody ultimately won.

Further down the ballot the Charleston County School Board races fulfilled their promise to be among the most contentious locally. In the North Area where two seats were up for grabs among four contenders, incumbent Collins retained the seat he’s held two consecutive terms while Kevin Hollinshead and Russ Patterson struggled to win the second seat available. Hollinshead was the ultimate winner with just over 2,000 more votes than Patterson in the race where just over 60,000 votes were cast.

On the peninsula incumbent Todd Garrett beat controversial challenger Tony Lewis with about 70 percent of the vote to win the seat he’s held four years. And in the West Ashley race incumbent Michael Miller matched newcomer Priscilla Jeffery with about 35 percent of the vote to each win one of the two seats that were contested among three candidates. With Hollinshead’s victory in the North Area, the nine-member consolidated school board now will have four African American members in the district where about half the students are black.

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