Anti-Incumbent Fever Rages in Horry County Primaries

By Paul Gable

Anti-incumbent fever raged through Horry County primaries Tuesday as five of six incumbents running in contested primaries lost.

One of the causes for the upsets, if you can call them that, was the pitiful, approximately 13%, voter turnout countywide.

The only survivor was S.C. House District 56 representative Mike Ryhal who won in a rematch against challenger Dennis DiSabato who Ryhal defeated two years ago to win the new house district seat.

The two biggest surprises of the night were the losses by incumbent S.C. House District 104 representative Tracy Edge and by Horry County District Three council member Brent Schulz.

Edge was soundly trumped by challenger Greg Duckworth, 60% to 40%, an opponent Edge defeated easily two years ago.

Schulz lost his race by 33 votes to Bill Howard an unsuccessful candidate for Myrtle Beach mayor twice and Myrtle Beach city council once.

Incumbent Probate Judge Deirdre Edmonds was defeated by 950 votes by challenger Kathy Ward.

Incumbent school board members Harvey Eisner (District 1) and Karen McIlrath (District 2) were defeated by challengers Holly Heniford (55% to 45%) and Sherrie Todd (52% to 48%) respectively.

When those results are combined with three incumbents who chose not to run for re-election, Carl Schwartzkopf in Horry County Council District Eight, Paul Price in Horry County Council District Five and Liston Barfield in S.C. House District 58, Horry County will have a lot of new faces in elected office come January 1, 2015.

In Horry County District Five, Tyler Servant (39%) and Clif Smith (24%) will be in a runoff in two weeks as will Jeff Johnson (49.8%) and Jeffrey Garland (27%) for S.C. House District 58.

In other county races, Ray Winters defeated Keith Van Winkle by 19 votes to claim the Horry County School Board District Three Republican nomination and Mike Roberts overwhelmed former Horry County Council Chairperson Liz Gilland by 496 votes to claim the Republican nomination for Horry County Council District Seven.

While incumbents were falling in Horry County, that was not the case statewide where incumbents hit near the 60% mark or better in reseeking nomination to their current office.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the incumbent supposedly most targeted in this year’s primary, easily swept aside six challengers while claiming 57% of the vote. Incumbent Sen. Tim Scott claimed 90% of the vote in turning back his one challenger.

Incumbent State Treasurer Curtis Loftis won 62% of the vote to again win the Republican nomination while incumbent Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers claimed 66% of the vote in winning his primary.

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