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Twenty-six file for county offices

Bethune to hold special election to fill seat

Posted: April 1, 2014 4:01 p.m.
Updated: April 2, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Twenty-six political hopefuls have filed to run for public office in Kershaw County. The filing period ended Sunday.

Six candidates are running unopposed. They include incumbent State Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk (D-52), Kershaw County Auditor Robin H. Watkins and Kershaw County Councilman Jimmy Jones. Kershaw County Board of School Trustees member Shirley Halley is unchallenged to keep her District 4 seat, as is District 6 Trustee Kim Horton Durant. David West is the only person hoping to be Kershaw County Coroner. That position is made available by current Coroner Johnny Fellers choosing not to run again.

Two positions will be decided by the June 10 primary, as the candidates represent the same political party. The race for Kershaw County sheriff has incumbent Jim Matthews facing challenger David Thomley. Both are running as Republicans and faced each other four years ago in the Republican primary, which Matthews won. Two other Republicans, Jill Catoe and Heather Ives-Dykes, are vying for the job of county treasurer.

Republicans Debbie Branham and Ned Towell will face off in the June primary for Kershaw County Probate Judge. The winner will face Democrat David Reuwer on the Nov. 4 ballot. Three Republicans, Julian Burns, Ben Connell and Gene Hartis hope to represent their party in November against Democrat Bobby Gary for the position of Kershaw County Council chairman.

Democrat Jimmy “Jimbo” Crissman and Republican Dennis Arledge will be on the November ballot to fill the county council District 5 seat being left open by Stephen Smoak’s decision to not run for a fifth term. Council’s 6th District sees incumbent Republican Tom Gardner pitted against Republican Howard “Buck” Buckholz in the primary. The winner will face Democrat Thomas Gordon in November.

The races for the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees will be decided in June, as the candidates run without party affiliation. District 2 Trustee Nissary Wood is being challenged by Mark Sury and 8th District Trustee Dr. Donald Copley is being challenged by Charles King, who held the seat prior to Copley.

Also on June 10, Bethune will hold a special election to fill a Bethune Town Council seat opened by the sudden resignation of Councilwoman Beverly Farmer. Farmer’s second four-year term would have continued through the end of 2015. Kershaw County Voter Registration Director Rosalind Watson said the special election filing period will be April 14-25. Farmer submitted a letter of resignation to Bethune Mayor Charles McCoy on March 13.

“Please accept my resignation, effective March 31, 2014,” Farmer wrote. “After much consideration I have decided that my other commitments prevent me from spending the time necessary to fulfill the duties of a town council member. I appreciate the opportunity to have served the people of Bethune and hope to see continued involvement in our community.”

In a short interview, Farmer said her decision was based on the time needed to serve on council.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and in a small town there’s not a lot of people to do it. It all falls on the mayor and the council,” she said. “I felt like it was better for me to step down and let someone else take my place. I didn’t have any problems with anybody. I just thought it was time to step down.”

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