Primary elections planned Tuesday

By Ben Robinson, Courier Staff

COUNTY — Local voters will have their chance to help shape the future of the state as primary elections will be held next Tuesday, June 10.

Polling locations will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. for Republican and Democratic voters to cast their ballots in primaries to determine candidates for the November general election.

Three local seats in the State House will be up for grabs in the election.

The only local seats on the ballot will be in the Republican primary.

Incumbent Davey Hiott will face opposition from challenger Michelle Wiles in the State House District 4 race, while the other two seats will feature new representatives.

In the District 3 race for the seat currently held by B.R. Skelton, who has decided not to seek re-election, Ed Harris will battle Gary E. Clary. The winner of the primary race will face opposition in the November general election from Travis McCurry, who has filed as a Libertarian.

Three men will compete for the District 5 seat currently held by Phil Owens, who will not run again. Neal Collins, Harley Staton and Rick Tate will be on the ballot in the primary.

The only other local seat up for grabs in the primary will be probate judge, which will be a battle between incumbent Kathy Patterson Zorn and challenger H. Mark Durham.

All other races on the Republican ballot are for statewide offices.

Mike Campbell, Pat McKinney, Henry McMaster and Ray Moore will compete for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. For state treasurer, incumbent Curtis Loftis is being challenged by Brian Adams.

Eight candidates will compete for the Republican nomination for state superintendent of education. Sandy Atwater, Gary Burgess, Meka Bosket Childs, Amy Cofield, Sheri Few, Don Jordan, Elizabeth Moffly and Molly Mitchell Spearman will compete for the nomination.

James Breazeale and Bob Livingston are running for adjutant general, while Hugh E. Weathers and Joe Farmer are competing for the commissioner of agriculture position.

Both South Carolina seats in the U.S. Senate are up for election.

In the seat formerly held by Jim DeMint, incumbent Tim Scott faces a challenge from Randall Young in the Republican primary.

Sen Lindsey Graham seems to have attracted the most opponent’s in this year’s election and will have to ward off Det Bowers, Lee Bright, Richard Cash, Bill O’Connor and Nancy Mace in the primary for a shot at the Democratic primary winner in November.

The Democratic primary, also set for June 10, has no local offices, although there will be options for state positions.

For state superintendent of education, Montrio M. Belton Sr.., Shiela C. Gallagher, Jerry Govan and Tom Thompson will be competing for the Democrats’ nomination.

Brad Hutto and Jay Stamper will compete for the right to challenge the Republican winner for Graham’s Senate seat in November. Joyce Dickerson, Sidney Moore and Harry Pavilack will compete for the Democrats’ nomination for the other Senate seat.

In addition to contested races, there will be a handful of advisory questions on the ballots for the primaries, asking voters for their opinions on issues that could be debated during the upcoming legislative session.

Two questions will appear on the Republican primary ballot, while the Democratic ballot will feature three questions.

The first question on the Republican ballot involves the issue of abortion, asking voters if the state constitution should be amended to include the following language: “The privileges and immunities of citizens of South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. These rights shall extend to both born and pre-born persons beginning at conception.”

The second question on the Republican ballot involves the eventual elimination of state income tax. Voters will be asked if state law should be amended to replace the state income tax, tax imposed on individual estates, trusts and others by resetting the rate of taxation by 1.4 percent each year until the state income tax rate for all brackets is zero percent.

The first of three questions on the Democratic ballot involves the legalization of online gambling. It will ask voters if they believe states — not Congress — should decide for themselves whether to allow online gaming and determine how to regulate online gaming in their state?

The second question is related to gambling, transportation and taxes. The official text for the question reads, “The South Carolina Department of Transportation estimates more than $20 billion is required to fix South Carolina’s crumbling roads and bridges. Should gaming laws be modernized to fund the repairs instead of a tax increase?”

The third question on the Democratic ballot involves the legal use of marijuana as a medicine, asking voters if medical marijuana should be legalized “for use in cases of severe, chronic illnesses when documented by a physician?”

For more information about polling places and voter ID requirements, visit