By Bobby Bryant
A Hartsville-area farmer plans to challenge Darlington County attorney Gerald Malloy for the S.C. Senate seat he has held since 2002.
J.D. Chaplin, 25, has put up a website and a Facebook page saying he will run against Malloy for the 29th District state Senate seat. “After 18 years of Gerald Malloy’s failed leadership resulting in poorer families, crumbling schools and washed-out bridges yet to be fixed, it’s time for a change,” Chaplin says on his web page.
Chaplin, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for an S.C. House seat (District 54) in 2016. He told the News & Press he hopes to hold a press conference formally announcing his Senate bid sometime in February.
“It’s been a long-coming decision,” Chaplin said of his bid to run against Malloy, a Hartsville Democrat.
Chaplin said he’s in the race mainly because of his frustration with Malloy, and he is especially concerned about the poor shape of Darlington County’s roads.
Chaplin’s website (votejdchaplin.com) describes him as a “fourth-generation row-crop farmer … from a family that has worked the land around Hartsvile for 85 years.”
The website’s biography says his father has been a lifelong farmer and his mother taught in Darlington County elementary schools for 30 years. It says he’s a member of Black Creek Baptist Church in Dovesville and says he earned a degree in history at Charleston Southern University. He’s active in the Boy Scouts of America, serving as an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 523 of Hartsville.
“Working on his family’s farm played a key role in molding J.D.’s character,” his website says. “He was in the tobacco fields at an early age, setting young stalks back in place after driving storms and wiping burning sap off his face as he cropped the plants.
“Because harvest time doesn’t care if you’re bone-tired or don’t feel well. The crop must come in, regardless of your situation.
“J.D. learned that lesson not from reading, but from doing. And he developed determination and perseverance as a result.”
His website spells out his stance on several issues, including:
Abortion: “As a committed Christian, J.D. knows that all life is precious.”
Gun rights: “An avid outdoorsman,” Chaplin backs the Second Amendment and “will fight to maintain your right to self-defense.”
Taxes: Chaplin “knows your taxes are too high and too much money is stolen from the pockets of hardworking South Carolinians to finance pet projects and bloated government.”
Government regulations: “He’ll take a hacksaw to the red tape that stifles both farmers and small businesses.”
Roads: Chaplin favors naming a state Transportation Secretary accountable to the governor, since steadily bumping up the S.C. gas tax has “done little to fix our highways.”