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Long lines are expected Tuesday as voters go to polls in Lancaster County to cast their votes in both hotly contested and low-key races.
The 5th District congressional race between incumbent U.S. Rep. John Spratt, a Democrat from York, and state Sen. Mick Mulvaney, a Republican from Indian Land, has been especially intense. The two candidates have crisscrossed the district, faced off in debates and appeared in TV commercials that have promoted themselves, while often, criticizing the other.
Another heated race on Tuesday’s ballot is the contest between state Rep. Nikki Haley, a Republican from Lexington, and state Sen. Vinent Sheheen, a Democrat from Camden, to become South Carolina’s next governor. Whoever wins will make history.
If elected, Haley will be the state’s first woman governor. Sheheen will be the first Catholic to be elected governor if he wins.
The winner will succeed Republican Mark Sanford, who is completing his second term as governor.
Morgan Bruce Reeves, who is running on both the Green and United Citizens party tickets for governor, is also on the ballot. However, few see him as serious contender for the seat.
In the city of Lancaster, the four-person race for mayor has sparked much interest.
Joe Shaw, who has 28 years as mayor under his belt, is hoping to win another four-year term.
Two-term City Councilwoman Linda Blackmon-Brace is making her second attempt to unseat him. She lost the mayor’s race to Shaw four years ago.
Two newcomers to city politics, Donnie Birchfield and Mary Helen Yarborough, are also vying for the mayor’s post. Neither has held elective office. Birchfield made an unsuccessful attempt to win a County Council seat six years ago.
Other contested local races
Although the 5th District congressional race, the governor’s race and the mayor’s race have generated especially intense interest this year, there are many other contested races on Tuesday’s ballot.
• State House District 44 between Democrat incumbent Jimmy Neal and Republican Rob McCoy
• State House District 45 between Republican incumbent Deborah Long and Democrat Mary Bernsdorff
• Lancaster County Council between incumbent Democrat Larry Honeycutt and Republican Phillip Tillman
• Lancaster County School District 1 between incumbent Don McCorkle, Leland Hughes and Kevin Sexton
• Lancaster County School District 7 between incumbent Mary Etta Taylor and Donald Huffman
• Lancaster City Council District 1 between incumbent Kenny Hood and Anthony Elder
• Lancaster City Council District 5 between incumbent John Howard and Derek Smith
The school board and City Council races are non-partisan, which means candidates do not run by political party.
The following statewide races will be on the ballot Tuesday:
• U.S. Senate – Republican incumbent Jim DeMint, Tom Clements with the Green Party, Democrat Alvin M. Greene and
• Lieutenant Governor – Republican Ken Ard and Democrat Ashley Cooper
• Secretary of State – Republican incumbent Mark Hammond and Democrat Marjorie L. Johnson
• State Treasurer – Republican Curtis Loftis, unopposed
• State Attorney General – Leslie Minerd with the Green Party, Democrat Matthew Richardson and Republican Alan Wilson
• State Comptroller General – Republican incumbent Richard A. Eckstrom and Democrat Robert Barber
• State Superintendent of Education – Doretha A. Bull with the Green Party, Tony Fayyazi with the Independence Party, Democrat Frank Holleman, Libertarian Tim Moultrie and Republican Mick Zais
• State Adjutant General – Republican Bob Livingston, unopposed
• State Commissioner of Agriculture – Republican incumbent Hugh Weathers and Democrat Tom E. Elliott
Uncontested local races
Some candidates on the ballot Tuesday face no opposition. They are:
• State House District 65 – Incumbent Republican Jay Lucas, whose district includes a small part of Lancaster County
• Sixth Circuit Solicitor – Incumbent Democrat Doug Barfield
• Lancaster County Probate Judge – Incumbent Democrat Sandy Estridge
• County Council District 2 – Incumbent Democrat Charlene McGriff
• County Council District 6 – Incumbent Democrat Jack Estridge
• School board District 3 – Incumbent Bobby Parker
• School board District 5 – Incumbent Janice Dabney
• Lancaster City Council District 2 – Incumbent Gonzie Mackey
Watershed district races
In non-partisan races, residents of two watershed districts will choose representatives.
• Cane Creek Watershed Conservation District – Eric Sherman and Tony Sistare
• Little Lynches Creek Watershed Conservation District – Carl Cicotello