Incumbents rule local elections
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Once all the general election ballots were tallied Nov. 6, Darlington County voters endorsed a varied slate of candidates running for everything from Congress to the local Board of Education.
Rep. Robert Williams (Democrat, state House District 62) waged two campaigns: a successful run against Republican Bill Baldwin to retain his House seat, and an unsuccessful charge against sitting Congressman Tom Rice for the U.S. House of Representatives District 7 seat.
In District 7, Rice received 59.53 percent of the vote (141,034) while Williams won 95,575 votes, or 40.34 percent statewide. In Darlington County, the race was closer with Rice garnering 12,294 votes and Williams taking 10,968.
For District 62, Williams won 63.12 percent of the vote (7,819), and Baldwin received 4,554 votes or 36.76 percent. In the county, the total was 6,766 to 4,295 in favor of Williams.
With the races decided, Williams joined supporters at Uncle Marshall’s restaurant in Darlington.
“I’m kind of happy that it’s coming to an end,” Williams told the News & Press. “Everyone worked so hard, and I really want to thank all the folks that worked with me and helped us get to this point. We’re excited about where we’re at, and excited about the future. This was sort of a trial period for us, and we may do it again.”
Darlington County Probate Judge Marvin Lawson also had cause to celebrate after besting challenger Dylan Crowley by a final count of 15,221 to 8,054. Lawson, who served 14 years as Clerk of Court and 24 years (and counting) as Probate Judge, had not faced opposition since 1980. He hosted an Election Night dinner at his home and expressed gratitude to voters who delivered the victory.
“I’m very thankful for the overwhelming support people gave me, and I’m looking forward to serving the people over the next four years,” said Lawson.
Republican Philip Lowe retained his state House of Representatives District 60 seat, beating Democratic challenger Devon Justin Long 7,547 to 4,794.
Albert Davis won the Darlington County Council District 6 (Hartsville) seat vacated by the retiring Mozella “Pennie” Nicholson. Davis defeated opponent Phyllis Griggs 1,817 to 574.
David Coker ran unopposed and will serve four more years on County Council, representing District 8 (Hartsville).
The race for Darlington County School Board District 5 required a mandatory recount, as the margin between vice chair Maureen Thomas (942 votes) and challenger Richard Brewer (953 votes) was less than 1 percent of the total votes cast. The recount took place Nov. 9 and Brewer was declared the winner.
For the School Board District 1 seat vacated by Bill Baldwin, candidate Leigh Anne Kelley ran unopposed.
C. Randell Ewing Sr. took 8,940 votes, besting William Kirven IV (8,385 votes) for a seat on the Soil and Water District Commission.