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The race for Mick Mulvaney’s former state Senate seat is getting crowded, with six candidates now saying they will run for the post.
Republicans Mike Short and Rob McCoy both announced Friday that they are throwing their hats into the ring.
Mulvaney resigned from his Senate seat on Dec. 10. The Indian Land Republican defeated longtime incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. John Spratt in November to win the 5th District congressional seat. Mulvaney will take his seat in Congress in January.
This is McCoy’s second bid for public office. McCoy, a Republican, tried to unseat incumbent state Rep. Jimmy Neal, a Democrat from Kershaw, in the House District 44 seat in November’s election. However, Neal defeated McCoy to win his sixth term in office.
“I wanted to let people know it’s not a rumor. I am running,” McCoy said Friday.
McCoy, 31, grew up in the Heath Springs area and served six years in the U.S. Army National Guard.
He decided to run for office again because he said he wants to find ways to reduce unemployment, bring more jobs to the area and assist small business owners in the county. McCoy owns McCoy Motors on U.S. 521, just north of Lancaster.
“Mulvaney was known as going to Columbia and voting conservative and I want to maintain that,” he said. “I want to make sure this seat stays conservative.”
McCoy said he recently moved to Lancaster from Heath Springs, so he’s now a District 16 resident. He said he now lives off Shiloh Unity Road.
“I moved into Lancaster because I feel this seat is so important,” he said.
Former York County Council member Mike Short of Fort Mill has announced that he will be a candidate for the post. He also said he wants to continue conservative representation of District 16.
Short has more than 14 years of political experience, having served one term on Fort Mill Town Council and five terms on York County Council, where he served two terms as chairman. Short worked for 20 years as a Lake Wylie insurance agency owner.
“I believe I have a lot to offer for the people of the district,” Short said.
His primary concern is putting district residents back to work, he said.
“It’s incredibly important to find ways to get the economy cranked back up so people can go back to work,” he said. “We also need to find ways to encourage other industries to come back in.”
Keith Brann, a Fort Mill accountant, is also entering the race as a Republican. He said he’s excited to meet the residents of District 16 and learn the issues that are important to them.
“I plan to do some advertising, some doorbell ringing, etc.,” Brann said. “I’m committed to this and I’m looking forward to getting my voice heard among the many.”
Fort Mill attorney Bayles Mack and businessman Stan Smith, also of Fort Mill, also reportedly plan to seek the Senate seat, according to The Fort Mill Times. Mack, who served four terms as a state highway commissioner, reportedly plans to run as a Republican.
Smith, who made an unsuccessful bid for the state District 48 seat last year, reportedly plans to run as a Libertarian.
Lancaster pharmacist Hugh Mobley is also seeking the seat. He announced last month his intention to run as a Republican.
Indian Land businessman and former local school board member Brian Carnes has also expressed an interest in running for the seat, but he has not made an announcement.
Filing begins Dec. 31
Filing for the seat will begin at noon Dec. 31 and close at noon Jan. 10, according to the S.C. Election Commission.
Primaries will be held Feb. 22, and the special election will be April 12.
District 16 covers most of Lancaster County and a portion of eastern York County.
The primary and election dates were set after Mulvaney resigned from his Senate seat on Dec. 10. The winner of the special election will serve for the remainder of Mulvaney’s term. About two years remain in the term.
Officials with the Lancaster County Election Commission said candidates must file with their home county’s political party.
Lancaster County Democrats have to file with the Lancaster County Democratic Party and Republicans with the Lancaster County Republican Party.
To file, county residents should call either Gil Small of the Democratic Party at (803) 285-5891 or Winston Smith of the Republican Party at (803) 283-7580.
For details, you can also call the S.C. Election Commission at (803) 734-9060.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (803) 416-8416