Originally created 06/14/06

GOP's Perry defends seat



AIKEN - Republican voters in Aiken County returned state House incumbent Robert S. "Skipper" Perry Jr. to office in South Carolina's primaries Tuesday.

In the District 81 race, Mr. Perry, 66, won a fifth term by fending off a challenge from retired Aiken businessman Walter Lamb, 72.

His colleague, state Rep. Kenneth Clark, 69, of Lexington County, faced two opponents, pharmacist Kit Spires, 52, and developer Dean Rawls, 41, in the District 96 contest.

A tally of the results in that race was incomplete at 10 p.m.; however, Mr. Rawls had garnered the most votes in Aiken County. District 96 includes parts of Aiken and Lexington counties.

There were no Democratic candidates in the state House races.

During the campaign, Mr. Perry called for fiscal responsibility from the state government. He also said the Legislature needs to improve South Carolina schools while maintaining local control and local accountability.

Mr. Lamb focused on three main issues during the campaign: school choice, protecting property rights and reducing the tax burden.

"I'm glad it's over. I'm tired. I'm happy as a lark," said Mr. Perry, who watched the returns at the Aiken County Council chambers Tuesday.

He attributed his victory to his campaign tactics.

"I outworked him, and I ran a positive campaign," he said.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.