According to results from election officials, L.C. Knight wins the primary for the Dorchester County sheriff’s race. Because only three candidates filed for office, all on the Republican ticket, Knight has no challengers for the general election Nov. 8 and will enter his third term as sheriff come January.
“I won this because of those people,” Knight said pointing to a crowd of cheerful supporters Tuesday night outside the Miler Country Club in Summerville. “I had an army of help. I’m proud of every one of them; every one of them contributed in some way or another. I’m glad people of Dorchester County looked at the facts, followed the facts and gave me enough votes to serve them another four years.”
According to scvotes.org, Knight (52.1 percent) beat candidates Ray Nash (42.1 percent), former Dorchester County sheriff, and Robert Biddle (about 6 percent).
According to Summerville resident Chris Connelly, Knight deserved his vote because he said the law enforcement leader’s “been doing a good job with the budget.”
Gary Scilabro, also of Summerville, echoed Connelly’s praise of the incumbent’s financial responsibility.
“I don’t know any of the candidates (for sheriff), but I know Nash went over budget,” he said.
Knight is already looking ahead to his next term, which will be his third term. He said after getting the new jail opened and inmates moved in, he wants to consider building a weapons training facility for his agency, whose deputies currently don’t have their own and have to share ones belonging to other law enforcement agencies in neighboring counties.
“After we get calmed down from all of that,” Knight said, “I’d like to work with the county to see if we can’t build a training facility ... because right now I have to borrow ranges and stuff for my guys to go out and shoot on, which causes us to burn a lot of overtime, a lot of scheduling, and if we have our own range, we can work around our schedule.”
Knight admitted he “was hoping he could pull” out a win, but said Nash has three terms of previous experience as sheriff. In the end, Knight gained the coveted title.
“They tried everything, they did everything they could, and my staff and my group worked as hard as we could,” Knight said.
In a statement Nash released late Tuesday night, he congratulates Knight and expresses his hope for the county going forward.
“It is my hope and prayer that the citizens may come together for the betterment of the county after such a hard fought campaign,” he said.
After learning of Knight’s victory, Nash thanked friends and family for their commitment to his campaign.
“We’ll see what door opens up next for me and my family,” he said.
Though looking forward to holding the title of sheriff once again, he said the voters spoke otherwise and “that’s what the process is all about.”
Before leaving the Kings Grant clubhouse where his campaign gathered election night, he circled with supporters to pray.
The coroner’s race remained tight the entire night as precincts reported votes. Of the three candidates, Paul Brouthers and Mike Giglio took the top two spots and will battle again for votes during a runoff election on June 28. Brouthers received 36.5 percent of votes and Giglio received nearly 33 percent of votes, according to scvotes.org. Candidate Wayne Reeves received 30.6 percent of the vote and a third place finish. He will not be in the runoff.
Katie Arrington and Sen. Sean Bennett both took top spots in Statehouse races. Arrington, who sustained 59.3 percent of votes, beat County Councilwoman Carroll Duncan, with 40.7 percent of votes, for the House District 94 seat.
Arrington considered herself an underdog, especially winning a race in which her opponent was endorsed a week earlier by Gov. Nikki Haley.
“Nobody believed in me,” she said. “I am so humbled and honored.”
Arrington also praised Duncan for her public service and promised to work “tirelessly for the people of Summerville to change Columbia.”
With 63.3 percent of votes, Bennett beat out Evan Guthrie for the Senate District 38 title. Guthrie received 36.4 percent of votes.
Bennett thanked the people in District 38 “for their trust and confidence in allowing” him to continue representing them in the state Senate.
“We have been making a great deal of progression changing the way things are done in Columbia, and I am looking forward to continuing that positive momentum,” Bennett said.
“It’s also my hope that the divisiveness of this community will subside so that we can move forward together. There is too much at stake, and too much potential to squander.”
Final results for all races will be certified by the elections board and posted Thursday morning.
Other than hot temperatures, the day’s theme centered on voter turnout — particularly its low numbers. According to election officials, only one precinct in the county witnessed between 30 and 40 percent voter turnout. A majority of precincts had between 10 and 20 percent, and some less than 10 percent.
Poll workers at various town and county locations said they, too, noticed minimal amounts of voters trickling in throughout the day, especially odd for polling locations covering multiple precincts.
By 4:30 p.m. only 10 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots at Summerville High School, a polling location serving six precincts, said poll worker Peggy Bangle.