County council, senate seats undecided in Tuesday primary

Clark retains sheriff post

COUNTY — Despite a beautiful sunny day in Pickens County, turnout for Tuesday’s Republican primary was low, as only about 21 percent of registered voters cast ballots, with several seats being determined for either all out victories or to set ballots for the November 8 general election.

The big winner of the primary was Rick Clark in his race for re-election to the sheriff’s seat. Clark defeated old foe Tim Morgan by a 1,360-vote margin, with 8,104 votes to Morgan’s 6,744 votes. Clark faces no opposition in November.

Runoff is the name of the game in three of the four Pickens County Council races.

In the District 3 race, a runoff will decide between Alex Saitta and Wes Hendricks on June 28 after the pair finished one and two in Tuesday’s primary. Saitta managed the most votes with 1,517. Hendricks earned a spot in the runoff with 1,349 votes. Incumbent Randy Crenshaw got 855 votes, while Jimmy Davis picked up 381 votes.

In the District 4 race, Roy Costner will face a runoff in two weeks. Costner finished first with 1,191 votes, followed by incumbent Neil Smith’s 767 votes and Keith Culbreath’s 759 votes. The slim margin between Smith and Culbreath will force a recount on Thursday to certify second place and a spot in the runoff in two weeks.

There will be a new county council member representing District 5, as incumbent Jennifer Willis did not seek re-election. Five people ran for the seat, which will force yet another runoff. Chris Bowers and Jeff Willis will face off in two weeks, with Bowers getting the most votes on Tuesday (893). Willis finished second with 791 votes, followed by Robert Sams with 635 votes, Mitch Bagwell with 329 votes and Harley Staton with 103 votes.

In District 6, Carl Hudson faced no opposition for the seat. Daniel Lee also filed for the race, but withdrew his candidacy. Incumbent Tom Ponder is not seeking re-election.

Only one of the two State Senate races was contested in Tuesday’s primary. In District 1, Sen. Thomas Alexander faced no opposition.

The District 2 race will continue, as incumbent Sen. Larry Martin will face the challenge of Rex Rice, who finished second on Tuesday. Martin took the most votes with 6,269. Trailing Martin was Rice with 4,605 votes, Don Joslyn with 1,626 votes and Allan Quinn with 1,375 votes.

In the race for the State House of Representatives District 5 seat, incumbent Neal Collins (2,995) defeated challenger Rick Tate (2,118).

Two House members faced no Republican opposition on Tuesday, but will have challengers in the fall. District 4 Rep. Davey Hiott will face Libertarian candidate Joey Lum in the general election, while District 3 Rep. Gary Clary will face Libertarian candidate Travis McCurry in November.

Congressman Jeff Duncan faced no Republican opposition on Tuesday for his U.S. House of Representatives District 3 seat, but he will face Democrat Hosea Cleveland in November.

Likewise, U.S. Senator Tim Scott faced no primary opposition on Tuesday. He’ll face Libertarian and Constitution Party candidate Bill Bledsoe, Democrat Thomas Dixon and American Party candidates Jim Hinkle and Rebel Scarborough in the fall.

Many county officials faced no opposition at all, including auditor Brent Suddeth, treasurer Dale Looper, coroner Kandy Kelley and clerk of court Pat Welborn.

The results listed are unofficial until they are certified and provisional/fail safe and emergency ballots are added and the recount of the race for Pickens County Council District 4 is completed on Thursday.