Resounding Wins for Coleman, Douglas

Although the results will not become official until Friday morning – and in the race for the District 4 seat on Fairfield County Council, perhaps not even then – results from Tuesday’s election indicate some convincing winners.

Incumbent Creighton Coleman will return to the S.C. State Senate in District 17, besting his Republican challenger Robert Carrison 18,401 votes to 6,808. Coleman handily won his native Fairfield County, 8,896 to 2,600. In Chester County, Coleman won by 4,644 votes, 8,810 to 4,166.

“I appreciate the confidence the voters of District 17 have expressed in me,” Coleman said late Tuesday night. “I look forward to representing them for another four years with honesty and integrity.”

In the race for the District 41 seat in the State House, Democrat MaryGail Douglas took home a resounding victory over Republican William Gray, 11,419 votes to 3,274. Douglas earned 8,896 of those votes in her home county of Fairfield where Gray could only muster 2,600 votes. In Chester County, Douglas won 2,523 votes to Gray’s 674.

Gray admitted that a Republican victory in District 41 was a long shot from the start.

“I set out to create a two-party system for Fairfield County,” Gray said. “Victory was not even something I contemplated. I knew it would be an uphill battle.”

Gray said he was particularly disappointed on his lackluster showing in his home precinct.

“I did not win my home box,” Gray said, “which says to me that black people in this community need to do a self-examination on where they stand and where they want Fairfield County to go.

“I congratulate Mrs. Douglas on her victory and I will support her in her efforts,” Gray said.

Douglas said she was overwhelmed by the voter response.

“It’s mind boggling how many people turned out,” she said. “It’s a mandate that says ‘we’re behind you.’ We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I will be looking to folks for input.”

In other Fairfield County races, incumbent Annie McDaniel retains her District 4 seat on the Fairfield County School Board, beating back two challengers. McDaniel earned 725 votes while Arthur Lathan brought in 554 and Carrie Suber-O’Neal 436.

“I was a little bit nervous,” said McDaniel, who is known for her fiery nature representing District 4. “I appreciate the support the voters have given me and I appreciate that they’ve given me one more chance to serve them.

“For some in District 4, (the results) say they like the fight,” McDaniel added, “that I take on a challenge. For others, I think they would like for me to continue to fight, but on a lighter note.”

School Board District 2 incumbent Danielle Miller lost her bid for another term Tuesday night, falling to Paula Meisner Hartman 855 votes to 574. William Frick easily took the District 6 seat with 898 votes. Thomas Armstrong, running as the write-in candidate, earned only 14 votes.

One Fairfield County race, for the District 4 seat on County Council, will have to undergo a recount before the results can be determined. Tuesday night, incumbent Kamau Marcharia tallied 834 votes to Mary Brown’s 830. Some voting irregularities were reported in early voting for that race, with votes for Marcharia turning up for Brown. The voting machines had to be recalibrated, according to reports, putting as many as 86 votes at risk.

“It’s kind of nerve racking,” Marcharia said Tuesday night. “It just goes to show you, every vote counts.”

Elsewhere in County Council, incumbent Carolyn Robinson won another term in District 2, beating challenger Vernon Pylant 931 votes to 606. Mary Lynn Kinley, unchallenged in District 6, earned 909 votes.

In other Fairfield County races, the unchallenged Herman Young won 10,427 votes in his bid for another term as Sheriff; Betty Jo Beckham, also unchallenged, won 10,745 votes for the Clerk of Court office; and Barkley Ramsey will see another term as County Coroner with 10,542 votes.

H. Keith McDonald (77 votes) and Oscar L. Buddy Peay (34 votes) were the only vote-getters in the race to fill three empty seats on the Rocky Creek Watershed. In the Jackson Mill Creek Watershed, also with three seats to fill, the write-in candidate earned 60 votes. The Wateree Creek Watershed also had three seats to fill, with the single write-in candidate earning three votes.

Lucas Vance contributed to this story.