Republican candidates succeed in Georgetown County

County GOP News
November 6, 2008

Despite the national trend of Republican losses on Election Day, in this year of Barack Obama, Republican candidates did well in Georgetown County.

John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Henry Brown all won in the county.

Republican State Senator Ray Cleary, Sheriff Lane Cribb, Coroner Kenny Johnson, and Probate Judge Waldo Maring all won reelection without any opposition.

The GOP maintained its majority on the Georgetown County Council with the reelection of both Ron Charlton and Austin Beard.

Charlton soundly defeated liberal Democrat union boss James Sanderson by an over two to one margin to retain the Council District- 2 seat for his fourth term.

The county GOP sent out a mailer in this race calling on voters to "boycott" Sanderson, a play on his 2003 threat of a union boycott of Georgetown City businesses.

Beard gained 57 percent of the vote against Democrat Murray Vernon to win the District-5 seat again.

Unfortunately Republican Jill Kelso very narrowly lost her race against six-term liberal Democrat State Rep. Vida Miller.

In this race the county GOP raised over $20,000 to fund seven weeks of radio ads that exposed Miller's liberal legislative and issues record.

Kelso won eight of the nine precincts on the Waccamaw Neck with nearly 60 percent of the vote. In Miller's home Pawleys Island precinct, where her friends and neighbors know her the best, Kelso won 58 percent of the vote.

Kelso lost by only 256 votes in Georgetown County.

While Kelso held her own in a number of Georgetown City area precincts, her loss centers around a few Democrat oriented precincts in which the turn out for Obama was overwhelming.

In two of those precincts in the city, 1,030 total votes were cast for Obama and only 63 votes were cast for McCain. In those same precincts Miller got 1,014 votes while Kelso only got 57 votes.

There were other precincts in Charleston County that had similar results.

It's very encouraging to hear that Jill Kelso will run again in 2010, when the election dynamics of a non-presidential election year will likely be much different.

Republican Nancy Harrelson lost her election bid against Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn, but she solidly carried nearly half of the county precincts.

Republican Rod Stalvey gave Democrat Linda Mock a very competitive race for the county auditor's seat.

Bruce Yablin fought hard against Democrat Lillie Jean Johnson for the County Council District-4 seat, but came up short. This was the first time in recent memory that the GOP even had a candidate for this seat.

The reasons for the successes of the county GOP in this election cycle are the committed conservative voters that turned out to support our candidates and the many GOP volunteers that helped man the Victory 08 office, made get out the vote telephone calls, went door to door, stuffed envelopes, contributed money, placed signs, hosted campaign events, and acted as poll watchers, among many other activities.

My sincere thanks go out to all who made our successes possible.


Tom Swatzel
Georgetown County Republican Party