8 county races uncontested

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By Johnathan Ryan

While this year's uncontested local races won't offer any surprises on who gets elected, they still matter.

This year's uncontested races include Lancaster County sheriff, County Council District 5, S.C. House District 44 and 65, and Lancaster County coroner, treasurer, auditor and clerk of court.

None of the unopposed candidates will appear on the June 10 primary ballots.

Faile unopposed for sheriff

Democrat Barry Faile, now chief deputy of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, is the only candidate for Lancaster County sheriff. He's been endorsed by his boss, Sheriff Johnny Cauthen, who is stepping down after three terms.

With 18 years of law enforcement experience and a strong family background of such work, Faile feels he has the familiarity needed to get the job done.

"I plan on giving the people of Lancaster County all the service they expect as sheriff," Faile said.

Faile said he knows the issues to tackle as sheriff. He said they include growth, gangs and narcotics, which all call for more deputies on the streets.

Faile maintains good relations with various county governing and service bodies, like emergency management, and says he can garner their cooperation.

Overcrowding at the county detention center continues to be a problem that Faile said he'll work with the county to solve.

"I have something to offer Lancaster County," he said.

Carter unopposed in District 5

Democrat incumbent Rudy Carter is unopposed for the Lancaster County Council District 5 seat, which he has held for nine years. He is now chairman of the council.

That's a position Carter wants to retain in his next term, since he wants to see two of the county's needs through – a new county courthouse and improvements at the county's library branch in downtown Lancaster. He said a November referendum will offer a way to pay for them.

"I would really like to get something done with those things," Carter said.

Plus, Carter thinks his experience as chairman so far will give his positions greater influence.

"I think I've gained a rapport with a lot of people," he said. "I think they'll listen to me more next time."

Lancaster County continues to grapple with how to pay for its growth, specifically for services like fire and public education. Carter said he supports developers paying for some of it, and feels 40 percent of collected development agreement fees should be given to the school district.

"Developers can help defray the cost,' he said.

Two House seats unopposed

Two local seats for the S.C. House are filled by unopposed long-time in-cumbents.

S.C. House Rep. Jimmy Neal (D-44) wants to tap his experience and rising seniority for the good of Lancaster County and the state.

He said his position as first vice chairman of the Education and Public Works Committee helped him continue fighting for public education in this area, such as the University of South Carolina at Lancaster, and serious reforms of the S.C. Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles.

"I would like to continue the work I've been doing and I appreciate the people of District 44 giving me the chance to serve," he said.

Neal, a retired public educator, said he'll continue to work to give USCL a "fair shake" in the state budget, and said improvements have been made elsewhere for public education, such as changes to the testing system and the Education and Economic Development Act. He is concerned that the state's recent moves to cap property taxes could be hard on Lancaster County's growing schools.

"We'll have to continue to monitor this new tax structure," Neal said. "Are we meeting the budget needs of our schools? If not, we'll have to change it."

S.C. House Representative Jay Lucas, (R-65), looks forward to another chance to serve his "unique" district, which includes a small part of Lancaster County in Flat Creek, Rich Hill and Spring Hill. Lancaster County is one of four counties included in his district.

Lucas has an influential role as member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Continued rural development is important to Lucas, who emphasizes the continued need for better roads and schools in rural areas, such as much of Lancaster County.

"We need more industry in rural areas and better roads and schools," he said.

Lucas is concerned that urban areas throughout the state are getting more of the gas tax revenue than they deserve at the expense of rural areas. Because gas tax revenue is the primary funding mechanism to improve road systems, that means roads in rural areas aren't as good as they could be.

Lucas feels his experience and current stature in the General Assembly will enable him to do greater things for his district.

"I'm at a point now where I can do more for the district than in those early years," he said.

Other local, uncontested races

Democratic incumbents Lancaster County Coroner Mike Morris, who has served in that seat for 28 years; Lancaster County Treasurer Dick Rowell, who is seeking his third term; Lancaster County Auditor Cheryl Morgan, who has served for 20 years in that role; and Lancaster County Clerk of Court Jeff Hammond, who is seeking a third term, are all unopposed.

All are Democrats.

Contact reporter Johnathan Ryan at jryan@thelancasternews.com or 416-8416