Thoughts on the primary results?


Our hero’s identity revealed!

Well, I finally got to vote last night. I picked up my wife on the way there, and we were almost the last voters at Quail Hollow (there was one after us). So we did our duty.

What do y’all think about the results? Here are some random thoughts that I’ve had:

  • Wes Hayes’ loss. Well, the best of the three senators opposed by Nikki Haley was unfortunately the only one to lose. No offense to Hugh Leatherman and Luke Rankin — they both won in spite of the governor’s allies’ $500,000 onslaught, so good for them — but Wes Hayes, a.k.a. “the Dean of Ethics,” was the one whose plight most demonstrated the hypocrisy of the governor’s own commitment to ethics. So I’m sorry to see it.
  • Runoff for Kenny Bingham’s seat. This is my House district. I felt like the two strongest candidates were newcomer Micah Caskey (any relation, Bryan?) and former county councilman Bill Banning. Micah (the scion of a Bennettsville family with close ties to my own, by way of disclosure) was the top vote-getter and is in a runoff. Bill, unfortunately, did not make it. But I say this with no knowledge of the other guy in the runoff, Tem Miles — whom I have not interviewed or even met. I need to remedy that.Ballentine - Warthen Ad
  • Midlands incumbents prevail. Wes Hayes said it was a bad year for incumbents, and in many cases across the country that’s true. But most Midlands legislative incumbents with opposition did just fine. I was happy for Katrina Shealy because she’s done a good job, and I was rooting for her after that awful thing Cindi Scoppe did to her several years back (tsk, tsk).  Nathan Ballentine deserved to win, of course, because he advertised here on the blog. You see the logic in that, right? Other winners included Rick Quinn (in spite of the slight cloud from Pascoe’s investigation), and in Richland County, John Scott and Darrell Jackson (despite the election commission, the Recreation Commission and so forth).
  • Solicitor runoff. Going by The State‘s endorsement, the strongest guy in the field to replace Donnie Myers got the most votes, but he’s in a runoff with Candice Lively, about whom I need to learn more, just as I do with Tem Miles. Stay tuned for more.
  • Dems divided over whom they will sacrifice to Joe Wilson. Well, we heard a lot about how Arik Bjorn was the only real Democrat in their 2nd District primary. The state party even endorsed him, in an extremely unusual move (they didn’t want another Alvin Greene). And he did prevail — but by a grand total of 49 votes in unofficial results — over alleged interloper Phil Black. This 50.1 to 49.9 triumph is particularly pathetic when you reflect that in Lexington County, the gravitational center of the district, only the most dedicated, partisan Democrats — the kind who wouldn’t be caught dead voting Republican — would even have selected a Democratic ballot, since this was the only thing on it. Bjorn can take comfort that proportionally, he did a little better in my precinct than he did elsewhere — 14 to 9. No, those aren’t percentages; that’s how many people voted.
  • As expected, Sanford prevailed. Jenny Horne’s tirade against the flag, wonderful as it was at that one moment last summer (and it may have been what turned the tide in the House and got the flag down), didn’t prove enough to send her to Congress. They love them some Mark Sanford in the 1st District. I suspect it’s something in their water. But in this case, since Jenny backed Trump and Sanford did not, perhaps justice was done.
  • Lott prevails, but his secret is out! Perhaps the most satisfying result of the night was Leon Lott’s overwhelming 3-to-1 win over James Flowers for a sixth term as Richland County sheriff. I would have been cheering my twin anyway, because he’s done a great job, but that WashPost series gave us good reason to be deeply concerned about his challenger. But I’m not sure I’m happy that he’s revealed his secret identity (see photo above, which I hope The State doesn’t object to my sharing). Doesn’t this grant an advantage to the supervillains out there? I suppose the secret was bound to come out. I thought it careless of him to win those statewide Toughest Cop competitions several years back…

Your thoughts?

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17 thoughts on “Thoughts on the primary results?

  1. Kathleen

    Does anybody know what happened to Wes Hayes? For the literal minded out there, yes I know Haley opposed him and he lost.

      1. Doug Ross

        From the Rock Hill Herald story on the Hayes’ loss:

        But voting at Laurel Creek’s Magnolia Room, Vance Houston spoke for most of the area’s voters when he said “It’s time to make a change.” “(Hayes) talks about a whole lot of change in this and this,” Houston said. “But the people don’t see it.”

        Read more here:

        Hayes has been in the same office for 25 years. If he couldn’t deliver anything meaningful in the way of ethics reform after 25 years and still be labeled the Dean of Ethics, it was time for a change. 25 years seems like enough time to prove that you can get something done besides talk about it.

        1. Doug Ross

          And looking at the bills he has sponsored over the past four years, I only find one that might be considered related to ethics – a $200 license fee for lobbyists. The majority of the other bills he sponsored were about tweaking the insurance laws. Just reading the summaries of the bills is headache inducing. So much process for so little impact.

          1. Lynn Teague

            You missed a major omnibus ethics bill, probably the strongest one of all those filed in the past four years.

        2. Barry

          I was surprised Climer could win in York.

          York is not exactly a conservative area – it’s more more aligned with someone like Wes Hayes.

          But since almost no one votes in these primaries, that sort of thing happens.

        3. Lynn Teague

          What I’ve read is that the Lake Wylie gated subdivisions went against Hayes, while Rock Hill stayed with him. The dark money folks pushing against him were going for his record on right wing issues, like his voting with those who got the gas tax bill out of committee. Why people who are very affluent should focus on removing an extraordinary man and fine senator over things like a gas tax vote is beyond me. Using the general fund, with or without bonds, just robs from education, dam safety, DSS, DJJ, and very thing else government does. But the Chamber of Commerce is happy, and I guess the Lake Wylie folks are happy. However, wouldn’t they be happier still with a bit of boundary redrafting so they could live in Art Pope’s North Carolina?

  2. Michael Bramson

    And outside the Midlands, Lee Bright’s race is going to a runoff. Bright and 2nd place Scott Talley went 38-27, so a third of the electorate is up for grabs. I haven’t been following that race very closely, but I have to imagine that a large chunk of those voters are anti-Bright first and foremost, in which case they could break very favorably for Talley. Thoughts from people who were paying more attention?

  3. Phillip Bush

    Maybe some people made the same mistake you did in your typo re Bjorn, his name evoked memories of Robert Bork, so they voted against him. (Your last sentence of that paragraph). Or they combined those two names and thought of Bjork and reacted negatively to that! Personally I think people just didn’t know and thought that “Phil Black” sounded like a regular kind of guy, while “Arik Bjorn” was just too unfamiliar- sounding a name. A variation on the Alvin Greene phenomenon, except this at least the right guy did squeak through.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      As for “A variation on the Alvin Greene phenomenon, except this at least the right guy did squeak through.”

      That might be because this time, the party intervened…

  4. Scout

    I voted for Bill Banning for House District 89 (Kenny Bingham’s seat). I agree that Micah Caskey would have been my second pick. But I don’t feel terribly well informed. All I could find were self made you tube videos and facebook pages for some of the candidates. My choice mostly was based on just impressions of how they present themselves, which may or may not accurately reflect what kind of job they’d do. I didn’t have the greatest impression of Tem Miles, but as noted, there was only sketchy info available, that I could find, without an exhaustive search. So if you could elaborate the information out there, it would be appreciated.

    1. Tem Miles

      I would love to have a chance to talk to you about any of the issues. Feel free to give me a call at (803) 351-8754. Thank you,
      Tem Miles

  5. Scout

    Thanks! I read them both. I will have to vote absentee. I’m going to be at the beach when the run off happens. I went by and learned how to do that. I will vote this week. I’m close to making a decision. Thanks very much for the info.


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