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There will be at least one county resident running as a Democrat for the open District 16 state Senate seat.
Lancaster resident Ronald Griffin filed to run Friday afternoon, said Gil Small, chairman of the Lancaster County Democratic Party.
Griffin joins Fort Mill accountant Keith Brann as the only Democrats to file. On the Republican side, nearly 10 people have either filed or are believed to be considering a bid.
Filing for the seat ends at noon Monday.
Small said the low number of Democratic candidates thus far may be a carry-over from November’s election, where a number of Republicans won seats statewide and throughout the country.
Though Small said the 2010 election “stifled” the Democratic party, he believes Griffin has a good chance to win this special election.
“The electorate has to see that the Democrats aren’t the bad guys,” Small said. “We didn’t cause the job losses, the banks to fail.”
Republican Greg Gregory, who held the District 16 seat for 15 years, announced last week that he will seek the seat again. He filed to run Friday, said Winston Smith, chairman of the Lancaster County Republican Party.
Brian Carnes and Rob McCoy are the two other Lancaster County Republicans to file thus far.
In York County, Fort Mill residents Wendy Petzel and Mike Short each filed with the GOP.
Republican Bayles Mack of Fort Mill has also expressed interest.
Stan Smith of Fort Mill is running as a Libertarian.
Winston Smith said the higher number of GOP candidates reflects the demographics of the district, which leans Republican.
“It’s an open seat in a special election,” Smith said. “It tends to turn out a lot of people.”
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 Small of the Democratic Party at (803) 285-5891 or Smith of the Republican Party at (803) 283-7580.
Primaries will be held Feb. 22, and the special election will be April 12.
Senate District 16 encompasses a large portion of Lancaster County, most of the Fort Mill township and other parts of eastern York County.
The District 16 seat became open in December when Mick Mulvaney resigned the post following his election as South Carolina’s 5th District representative in Congress. Mulvaney was sworn into his new position Wednesday.
About two years remain in the term.
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at email@example.com or at (803) 283-1152