Bell, Gilbert win County Council seats

No surprises in school, Dist. 41 races

WINNSBORO – Even though Fairfield County logged an impressive 61.24 percent voter turnout Tuesday, there was little evidence that voters were looking for a change in the direction of the county’s governments.

All the county council and school district incumbents were returned to their seats with the exception of County Councilman Dan Ruff (District 1) who was edged out by Moses Bell with 651 votes (53.98 percent) to Ruff’s 546 votes (45.27 percent). There were nine write-in votes (.75 percent).

In county council races, the other new face to emerge from Tuesday’s election is Clarence Gilbert who replaces District 7’s County Council Chairman Billy Smith. Smith, who announced in June that he would not seek re-election after his term ends on Dec. 31, said he will be moving to Baton Rouge, LA where his wife, Rachel, is a professor at Louisiana State University.

Gilbert, with 400 votes (40.77 percent), bested two opponents – Lisa Brandenburg with 356 votes (36.16 percent) and Jana Childers with 197 votes (20.08 percent). There were 29 write-in votes (2.96 percent).

Incumbent Mikel Trapp, Sr. retained his District 3 county council seat with 618 votes (58.19 percent) over challenger Peggy Swearingen’s 439 votes (41.34 percent). There were five write-in votes (.47 percent) in that race.

Incumbent Doug Pauley, District 5, won by the largest margin of all the county council candidates with 586 votes (66.47 percent) over Matthew Seibles, Jr. with 304 votes (33.97 percent) and five write-in votes (.56 percent).

In the school board election, all four incumbents were returned to their seats.

Incumbent Sylvia Harrison, District 1, captured 796 votes (65.89 percent) to turn back her challenger, Elliott Qualls with 397 votes (32.86 percent) and 15 write-in votes (1.24 percent).

With 621 votes (56.20 percent), District 7 school board incumbent Darreyl Davis fought off opponent Herb Rentz who had 470 votes (42.53 percent). It was the second time this year Davis and Rentz had run for the seat. Davis defeated Rentz in February in a bid to serve out the last few months of Board Chairwoman Beth Reid’s term that was cut short by her death last winter.  There were 14 write-in votes in the Tuesday race.

School board incumbents for District 3, Henry Miller, and District 5, Carl Jackson, were challenged only by write-ins. Miller received 773 votes (98.36 percent) with 13 write-in votes (1.65 percent), and Jackson received 756 votes (97.95 percent) with 16 write-in votes (2.05 percent).


In the race for the District 41 House seat currently held by MaryGail Douglas who was defeated by Annie McDaniel in the June Democratic Primary, McDaniel received 5,923 votes (74.63 percent) to United Citizen’s candidate Fred Kennedy’s 1,941 votes (24.46 percent). There were 73 write-in votes (.92 percent) in the race.

Sixth Circuit Solicitor Randy Newman, Jr. was unopposed Tuesday, taking 4,563 votes (97.42), with 121 write-in votes.

Claudia Dean won the race for the Rocky Creek Watershed, with 40 votes (50.63 percent) over William Wishert with 37 votes (46.84 percent).

In uncontested county races:

County Treasurer Norma Branham, 7,975

County Auditor Peggy Hensley, 7,682

Probate Judge Pam Renwick, 7,793

Soil and Water District Commission, Eric Cathcart, 4,422

Jackson Mill Watershed and Wateree Creek Watershed – Write-in results not available at press time.

All results are unofficial until certified by the County Election Commission Friday morning.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]