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Lancaster County Republicans have much to be proud of in the recent Republican primary elections.
The strong turnout in the June 10 election provided more proof of the county’s growing embrace of the Republican Party, as roughly four times as many voters chose to vote in the Republican primary (4,472-952) than the Democratic primary. It is a telling sign that in a stronghold of Democrats like Jim Hodges and the late Tom Mangum when a Republican Party primary has a four-to-one advantage over the Democratic primary.
Compared to the 2010 primaries, when county Republicans outvoted Democrats by a smaller margin (2,941 to 2,278), this record turnout represents further evidence of a county that is turning red, following the 2012 Republican takeover of Lancaster County Council and last year’s decision by Sheriff Barry Faile to join the Republican Party.
This year’s Republican primary turnout is a clear sign that the GOP was the choice of voters countywide, not just the traditional GOP stronghold of the Panhandle area. While 83 percent of Panhandle primary voters voted in the Republican primary, 82 percent of all county primary voters chose Republican ballots last month. Lancaster Republican office-holders from below the Panhandle, such as Sheriff Barry Faile, Treasurer Carrie Helms and County Council members Bob Bundy and Steve Harper, are now in good company with many of the voters in their communities.
Much of the county GOP primary turnout was to support the two Republican candidates for solicitor, who ran a close race in Lancaster County.
This was the first ever Republican primary for this office and one of the most heavily contested primaries in county history. This enthusiasm is a strong sign of things to come when Randy Newman, the Republican nominee, faces a former public defender in November.
In addition to Newman, other community GOP candidates who didn’t have a primary will also be on the November ballot, including Congressman Mick Mulvaney, District 45 State Rep. Deborah Long, District 53 candidate Richie Yow, probate judge candidate Jerry Holt and County Council candidate John Hess.
While it’s encouraging to see record number of voters embracing the Republican Party in our primaries, we need their involvement year-round, both in helping reach voters, as well as getting involved in local government.
It is also important that all concerned citizens get involved in working for a better Lancaster County and South Carolina.
To help the public get involved and learn more about the many Republican candidates on the November ballot, Lancaster County Republicans have opened a new headquarters. Come visit us at 699 S.C. 9 Bypass East in Lancaster. While the office will be open some during the week, it will not have regular scheduled hours until August. We also hold monthly meetings at 7 p.m. every third Thursday except in July. Please come join us.
Brandon Newton is first vice chair for Lancaster County Republican Party