Originally created 11/06/96

Democrats nab lead for S.C. Senate



AIKEN - With 31 of 50 precincts reporting Tuesday night, incumbent Democratic state senator Tommy Moore held a commanding lead over GOP challenger Susan Swanson.

Mr. Moore, a 16-year incumbent from Clearwater, garnered 69 percent or 12,765 votes, while Ms. Swanson, a Belvedere resident received 31 percent or 5,795 votes.

And in the race for the District 26 senate seat, Democratic incumbent Nikki Setzler was leading Republican challenger Avery Wilkerson with only 35 of 50 precincts reporting.

By 11 p.m., Mr. Setzler had 59 percent, or 5,595 votes, while Mr. Wilkerson had 41 percent or 3,914 votes.

Aiken County's "fail safe" precinct will not be counted until 8:30 a.m. Thursday when challenged ballots are tallied. The "fail safe" precinct applies to people who have moved in the county, but haven't changed their addresses.

If re-elected, Mr. Moore said he plans to spend much of his next term dealing with federal welfare reform that will shift much of the responsibility for the program from the state.

He was attacked by Ms. Swanson, who accused him of allowing area industries to close, as being part of the "old boy" network and having $143,000 debt left over from his 1994 congressional campaign.

The senator countered that 7,300 jobs have been created in Aiken, Edgefield and McCormick counties from 1985 to 1995 and capital investments have exceeded $4 billion.

Mr. Setzler, 51, who has served in the state senate since 1977, and Mr. Wilkerson, 39, both used education as a driving force behind their political platforms.