Edgefield County voters can shape several races

COLUMBIA --- Perhaps "coasting" is not the preferred term for unopposed candidates this election season, but it pretty much fits.

Democrat Bill Clyburn faces no re-election challenge to the 82nd S.C. House district, while newcomer Bill Hixon, a Republican and the only contender for the 83rd S.C. House district, is also unopposed.

"Luckily I don't have anybody running against me," said Hixon, adding that he's looking forward to a freshman orientation session next month in Columbia for new lawmakers to learn the legislative rules and decorum. "We're going to go over ethics and learn how you pass a law," he said. "I guess we're going back to school."

But Edgefield County voters will have a more fractious contest in the 3rd Congressional District race, where Republican Jeff Duncan, Democrat Jane Ballard Dyer and Constitution candidate John Dalen are vying to replace retiring Rep. Gresham Barrett.

Like the rest of the state, the Edgefield County ballot will also present choices for governor and eight other constitutional officers, including secretary of agriculture and secretary of state.

Contested local races also include the contest for the soil and water district commission and a host of school board seats and county council spots.

Voters will see four constitutional amendments on the Nov. 2 ballot -- the first preserving outdoor sporting culture, the second focusing on union practices, and the third and fourth addressing state spending.

Republican leaders are urging a "yes" vote on all four amendments, while Democrats are calling for a "no" vote on Amendment 2 and have no position on the other three questions.

This month Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, blogged that Amendment 2, which guarantees the right to a secret ballot for union members, is necessary in light of congressional efforts to pass legislation he says would make it easier for unions to organize a workplace.

In Peeler's view, "Even if you don't agree that we need to fight union formation, I'm sure you agree that everyone is entitled to vote by secret ballot."

But Keiana Page, the spokeswoman for the S.C. Democratic Party, said the ballot question is a political ploy to increase Republican turnout on Election Day by creating a false threat. "What this would do is strike fear in employees that the right would be taken away from them," said Page.


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