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Republican Primary - June 14, 2022

PLEASE NOTE – IMPORTANT DETAIL: do not take this info to the polls in any printed form. By law, you may take only a list of names and offices to the polling site.

This year there is one important dynamic going on—the Democrats are having their own contested Governor’s and Superintendent race statewide.  Democrats have an incentive to stay in their own primary and not to meddle in ours. So some conservatives have a better chance than usual to win the nomination or at least to make it to a run-off.

4th Congressional

William Timmons – INCUMBENT https://votetimmons.com

A former prosecutor in the Solicitor’s office. Entrepreneur, small-business owner, and JAG officer in the Air National Guard.  While in Congress, he has a conservative voting record: strong Pro-Gun votes, strong Pro-Life votes, and worked with Rep. Jim Jordan to advance voting security measures after the 2020 election.  “A” ranking and endorsement from the NRA, “A” ranking from Gun Owners of America (GOA does not hand out this ranking as easily as the NRA; this ranking means that Rep Timmons is a serious supporter of gun rights), and he has a 100% Pro-Life voting record from National Right to Life (NRTL). I believe him to be a reformer. He wants to clean up the corruption; he wants to solve problems, although I think this makes him willing to compromise a little too much. Big endorsements are Pres. Donald Trump, Rep. Jeff Duncan and Rep. Ralph Norman.  He has many more endorsements and has raised by far the most money for this race.  I expect him to win reelection without a run-off.

Mark Burns http://www.markburns.org/

African American pastor from Easley. He gave a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration and goes on the news shows and defends the president regularly.  He has a very charismatic personality. Served in the Army National Guard for 6 years and was honorably discharged.  He has openly talked about the fact that he was a Democrat and that Trump and his campaign and issues helped him see his views were closer to the GOP, and switched parties and traveled with President Trump and campaigned on his behalf in 2020.  He did not answer the NRA questionnaire, Pro-Life, Pro-Military, in favor of building the Wall at the border, and regularly speaks out against the woke and cancel culture. Slogan for his campaign is God First.

Michael LaPierre https://www.lapierreforhouse.com/

Retired businessman, entrepreneur, and author. Has a bachelor’s degree from Brown Univ in political science and business, a master's degree in business and entrepreneurship from Clemson.  Running as a principled conservative.  Received an “AQ” from the NRA (highest score for a non-Incumbent). Ran two years ago against Sen. Graham and received 17% as the lead vote-getter of Sen. Graham’s opponents.  I believe Mr. LaPierre is more conservative on several issues, but he has raised 1/8 of the money of Timmons.  He is campaigning more against Timmons, than on what he wants to accomplish.  The campaign slogan is Reclaiming America.

George Abuzeid http://voteabuzeidforcongress.com/   

The son of immigrants, a former Navy Pilot who transitioned to commercial pilot and was laid off during the pandemic. Even though he’s running for the 4th District, he lives in the 5th District. Campaigning to listen to his constituents, and on the following issues, parental rights in schooling, Free Speech rights, protecting the 2nd Amendment rights, Pro-Life, border security and building the wall, and stopping mandates on vaccines.  He did not answer the NRA questionnaire. He has raised less than $100K and will come in last in the primary.

Evert: Timmons is going to win this race, he has voted as a conservative, maybe not as some of would like but well enough to be reelected.  Mr. Burns is the only person who could beat Timmons, but I don’t see him winning this race after Trump endorsed Timmons.

Governor

Henry McMaster – INCUMBENT -  https://henrymcmaster.com/

Current Governor who has served as Governor since Nikki Haley was picked by President Trump to be the Ambassador to the UN.  McMaster has held multiple offices including state party chairman, US Attorney, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and now governor. He was the first elected official in the nation to endorse Donald Trump for president. Pres Donald Trump has endorsed him for reelection. He has an A ranking & endorsement from the NRA. He has served as a center-right Governor.  He has signed Pro-Life legislation and the Open carry law.  The Governor has received criticism from some over his handling of school shutdowns and vaccine mandates.  He has served with Pamela Evette as his lieutenant governor running. She’s a businesswoman from the Traveler’s Rest area.

Harrison Musselwhite http://www.votetruckerbob.com

Mr. Musselwhite has had several careers over the years from owner-operator of a furniture store to owner-operator of Mattress World which he shut down to take care of his wife during her terminal diagnosis of lung disease, to which she recovered.  He then became a trucker of bulk chemical supplies. He is from Simpsonville and is a member of the new Greenville County GOP.  He was recruited by the new Greenville County GOP to run against McMaster.  They felt the Governor should do more about stopping vaccine mandates.  He has raised less than $50K for this race and in my opinion, is not a serious candidate.

Evert: I endorse and will be voting for Henry McMaster.   

Attorney General

Alan Wilson – INCUMBENT www.wilsonforag.com

Current incumbent. Veteran. He has been a leader among the States Attorney’s General fighting against both the Obama Admin and the current Biden Administration. He has led the fight unconstitutional gun legislation, Biden's open borders policies, and has fought to protect SC Pro-Life, Pro-Gun legislation as well as fighting to keep men out of women’s sports and the federal government push to teach CRT, and the woke agenda. Before he was elected, he worked in private practice and with the Deputy Solicitor. He received an “A” ranking and an endorsement from the NRA. President Donald Trump has endorsed his reelection. Strong Pro-Life advocate. On both social issues and gun rights, Alan Wilson has been an extremely strong leader. He has also been recognized by conservatives in the country in his fights against the liberals.  He is a great advocate for our conservative values in SC!

Lauren Martel https://www.martelforag.com/

An attorney from Beaufort. Previously ran for County Council in Beaufort in 2014. The only issue that is listed on her positions page is Medical Freedom, from what I can read on her website that is her driving passion in the attorneys general race to stop the overreach with vaccine mandates and the liberal's desire to force mandates and vaccine passports.  I don’t know that I disagree with her on this issue, but it seems to be the only issue she is running on.  She had a flyer that had other issues listed and I will list them, but all of these were not front and center on her issues page, I had to dig to find them (I’m not sure if that was on purpose or just bad design): wanting to protect women’s sports, defending traditional SC Values, criminal justice reform, voting & ballot integrity and stopping human trafficking.  According to the March campaign finance report, she has raised only $31K for this race and in my opinion, is not a serious candidate for this race.  One of her few backers is the new Greenville County GOP and its leadership.

Evert: I endorse and will be voting for Alan Wilson

Secretary of State

Mark Hammond – INCUMBENT                               

Current INCUMBENT. He has modernized the office from when he first took over and he has been a watchdog over charitable organizations, making sure that they are actually funding the causes they say they fund. In the past he has received an A ranking from NRA, they did not do one this year for the primary.  He has been a good administrator for this last term in office.  I see no reason not to reelect him.

Keith Blandford http://blandford4america.com/

From Sullivans Island, currently serving in the SC Guard (I believe this is the State Guard, not the National Guard, but his bio was not clear on that point).  The main campaign issue seems to be to have the Sec of State take over the election functions for the state instead of having an appointed commission run the election system in the state.  Here are the three “Principal Positions” from his website: restoration of election integrity and validity, at the national, state, and local level, the immediate cessation of any and ALL federal public health mandates, and parents need to be in control of their children’s education.  The odd thing about the above is none of these are what the Sec of State is mandated to do by state law.  Personally, I think he should be running for the SC House or Senate not Secretary of State.  He has raised less than $15K for a statewide race and in my opinion, is not a serious candidate.

Evert: I will be voting for Mark Hammond for reelection.

Superintendent of Education

Ellen Weaver http://www.ellenforeducation.com          

Graduated from BJU, then went to work for then-Congressman Jim DeMint. Has been a leader in the school-choice movement in SC for 10 years, evidenced by the fact that those who have competing views of school choice have personally sued her and many other school choice advocates. The current head of the new Greenville GOP has brought these suits. She was against the mask and vaccine mandates for school. A strong advocate for parental rights. Has strong Pro-Life views. Believes the state superintendent should be an advocate for parental rights, student learning of critical thinking in core areas, allowing teachers to exercise authority within the classroom, and protect SC students and teachers from federal overreach and the forced imposition of world politics, CRT, transgenderism, vaccine mandates, and progressive politics. Key issues from her website include for students:
1) Laser-focus on literacy and math skills to get all students on track for success, 2) Unleash access to high-quality education options for every student, 3) Advocate for children with special needs; for parents: 1) Defend parents’ right to direct their child’s education. 2) Protect children from political indoctrination in every form, 3) Reject COVID mask & vaccine mandates in schools. Major endorsements include Sen. DeMint, Dr. Ben Carson, Rep. Jeff Duncan, Dr. Mick Zais (former GOP Sup. Of Ed.), SC Sen. Josh Kimbrell, SC Sen. Dwight Loftis, SC Sen. Danny Verdin, SC Sen. Scott Talley, SC Rep. Bobby Cox, SC Rep. Josiah Magnuson, SC Rep. Garry Smith, SC Rep. Adam Morgan, SC Rep. Patrick Haddon, SC Rep. Roger Nutt. Additionally, former SC Sen. Mike Fair, Dr. Steve Pettit, Dr. Carl Herbster, Randy Page, and Lenna Fox Smith. Of all the candidates in this race, Ellen has raised the most money.

Kizzi Gibson http://www.kizzigibson.com                  

Dr. Kizzi Gibson, from Orangeburg County, SC, got her bachelor’s degree from Claflin University, a master's from Columbia College and a doctorate from Northcentral University. She has been a teacher, an educational board member, and has worked at both public and charter schools, as well as working with some homeschooling projects. She’s been an educator for 18 years. She’s also been a student mentor and a teacher mentor. She believes we should have mentoring programs for students to teach the Heritage Foundation’s 1776 Project to counter the Left’s 1619 anti-history narrative. Is very much against CRT and the woke culture being imposed on children through indoctrination and propaganda in schools. She’s been a member/leader in the SC Federation of Republican Women; also has been a delegate to the SC GOP State Convention. Her platform includes practical ideas for retaining qualified teachers, for student learning/safety, and for parental involvement. She is a conservative Christian in her community.

Travis Bedson http://www.bedsonforstudents.com/

A businessman from the Low Country. Primarily got in the race for 2 reasons: students graduating without skills to be productive citizens, and the somewhat national trend for education elitists to steal parental rights and impose propaganda and indoctrination on their students. He has put over $200K of his own into the race, making him a serious candidate.

Bryan Chapmanhttp://www.chapman4sc.com     

He is a pastor from Florence. He serves on the local school board. He has adopted and taken in children and raised them as his own. He has raised very little funding so far.

Lynda Leventis-Wells www.lyndaforeducation.com   

Current Greenville County School Board member; the current board is not a conservative body; she sometimes votes conservatively, sometimes not. She wants more money in the system [higher taxes]. She came out against mask mandates and vaccine mandates in the debate. She has also raised very little money for this race. I would classify her as an “establishment type.” I don’t know whether she’d be a Republican or just a center-right Democrat. Over 20 years ago she did run as a Democrat for State House, so I don’t know how much of her politics may have changed. Her elected position (school board) is currently a non-partisan one.

Kathy Maness http://www.kathymaness.com

Elected as a town council member in Lexington.  A Democrat running as a Republican. In the debates she has parroted all the other Republican candidates’ positions, even claiming to be in support of parental rights, school choice, and against mask mandates, vaccine mandates, CRT, and the forced acceptance of transgender policies from the feds. This is surprising since she is the leader of the state teacher’s union and the chief lobbyist for that union in which she took positions diametrically opposed to her statements in the debate. There is a video that shows Kathy Maness receiving praise and shout-outs from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and VP Kamala Harris; she openly campaigned for Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure spending package and was at the signing ceremony. She is the current incumbent’s choice to replace her. Molly Spearman is another Democrat who ran on the Republican ticket—she stood at the threshold of the legislature, lobbying and strong-arming House members not to override Obama’s executive order to force schools to allow transgender use of restrooms and sports. I’ve gone to the State Ethics Commission website and Ms. Maness has raised a lot of money—there were five pages of donors when I looked—just the first page had a third taken up by Molly Spearman and other Democrat donors. She is trying to trick Republican voters into believing that she is a Republican when she is not. She’s not just a Democrat—she’s a liberal one. As a Republican, it offends me to have someone representing themselves as having positions they do not hold.

Evert: This is a very difficult race to decide on.  For some background, I think I need to expound on some history of this seat in this state.  In the last 40 years, the GOP has won this seat only three times—one with an establishment candidate, one with a conservative (Zais), and one Democrat running as a GOP (Spearman).  This has never been an easy win for the GOP. One of the major criticisms of Ellen Weaver is that she does not currently have a master’s degree, which the legislature snuck in as a new requirement for this office in the last few years; she is currently working on her master's degree and expects to have the masters before the general election. I believe that Dr. Gibson is more conservative than Ellen Weaver, but this race will go to a run-off and there’s a very good chance that Maness will make it to the run-off. We have to have our strongest candidate to win. I’ve always believed in the mantra that you vote for the most conservative candidate that can win. With Ellen Weaver’s conservative credentials, financial backing, and strong conservative endorsements, I believe she is the better choice in this race. A perfect scenario would be two conservatives in a run-off (Weaver and Gibson), finishing to a conservative nominee. Dr. Gibson has quite a bit of local grassroots support but is lacking on the finances and endorsements.

Evert: I endorse and will be voting for Ellen Weaver.

Commissioner of Agriculture

Hugh Weathers – INCUMBENT www.hughweathers.com

Able administrator; has done an excellent job in this office. He is one of the few actual farmers to have held this office. In my opinion, it should not be an elected position at all. I don’t see a reason not to reelect him.

Bob Rozier www.rozierforscag.com

He is not a farmer but has worked in the agriculture business for 30 years.  Wants to update the office and improve communication with the Farmers and public.

Bill Bledsoe

Currently serves on Spartanburg Soil and Water Conservation Commission. He grew up on a dairy farm and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida. He has run for multiple offices in multiple parties and is currently also filed as a Constitution Party nominee for this office. I do not see an Ethics Commission report on how much he has raised, which means he has either raised less than $500 or has not reported as of yet.  Because he has been on the ballot so many times, he might get more votes than expected for someone not raising or spending money on the race, plus he already has the Constitution party nomination so he will be on the November ballot anyway.

Evert: I endorse and will vote for Hugh Weathers.

State House District #5

Clay Hamlett https://facebook.com/electclayhamlett     

Lifelong resident of Pickens County. Currently a college senior at Clemson University (graduating in Dec.) majoring in political science. His father is a veteran and a former police officer. His impetus for running was the current incumbent’s tendency not to represent the values of his community in Columbia (examples: incumbent stating he was supporting the gas tax then voting against it at the last minute because they did not need his vote; not supporting the Save Women’s Sports Bill in committee and then reversing course under pressure). This young man is very poised, and if you listen to him on the radio, you would think him much older than he is. He can articulate his values and his positions in a simple yet direct way. Further, as of the last filing he has raised over $6,000 for this campaign, which is very good for a challenger to an incumbent and shows he has the support of a large segment of the community. Did not answer the NRA questionnaire but has taken strong gun rights positions like supporting Constitutional Carry. Endorsed by the SC Liberty Caucus.

Neal Collins – INCUMBENT www.collinsforsc.com  

Attorney. Pro-Life and somewhat Pro-Gun voting record. Was a VERY outspoken NEVER TRUMPER, and did NOT vote GOP that year. Voted against the Save Women Sports Act in committee, and the bill actually failed at the committee level and had to be resurrected. He did vote for this bill at the final vote on the House floor because he had received so much pressure from his constituents. He also was one of the “no” votes regarding Constitutional Carry at the committee level, but again, supported it once it came to the floor, because of pressure from his constituents. He is moderate at best. “A” ranking and endorsement of the NRA.

Dennis Bo Roberts https://www.dennihamlettsbroberts.com

He skipped all the debates. Has only raised $250. At this point, I do not consider him to be a serious candidate.

Evert: I endorse and would vote for Clay Hamlett.

State House District #7

Jay West – INCUMBENT www.facebook.com/jaywestforschouse7

Businessman; current incumbent. He has a Pro-Life voting record and a Pro-Gun voting record. He received an “A” ranking from the NRA and their endorsement.

Alex Foppoli www.savesouthcarolina.net

In reviewing his website and other sites he’s shown up, he’s running as an anti-globalist. Raised less than $500.

Evert: This race I know the least amount about. But I would probably vote for Jay West, just from some of the endorsements and the fact that his challenger has raised so little money. 

State House District #10

Thomas Beach https://www.beachforhouse.com

He’s a licensed realtor from the Piedmont area. He served 4 years as an airborne infantryman, with service in the 75th Ranger Regiment. “I decided to run for State Representative when I learned that our current representative, West Cox, voted against the Save Women’s Sports Act and wrote and sponsored an amendment supporting so-called “hormone therapy” and puberty blockers for children as young as 10 years old.” Running on traditional family values, Pro-Life, and supporting 2nd Amendment gun rights. Received an “AQ” ranking from the NRA (the highest score a non-incumbent can receive). He has raised nearly $30K for this race; he has received the endorsement from John Warren’s SC Conservative Future group and the former rep from this district, Joshua Putnam.

Mark Durham http://www.markdurhamsc.com

Ran 2 years ago as a conservative alternative to Mr. Cox. He’s a retired police officer running as a Pro-Life,
Pro-Gun rights candidate. He’s very much a supporter of police and the rule of law. He’s in favor of school choice, both public and private. I was very close to endorsing him 2 years ago.

West Cox – INCUMBENT www.westcox.com       

Attorney. I would describe him as a Chamber of Commerce Republican. If he’s pushed, he’ll vote the right way, but it won’t be because he takes a strong stand on any issues. He has a strong Pro-Life voting record. His voting record on gun rights is spotty. He voted to table the Constitutional Carry bill and it almost killed the bill. At the committee level, he voted to kill the Save Women’s Sports Bill and proposed an amendment to allow hormone blockers to children as young as 10 years old. He also voted against the final bill that would have closed political primaries. Received an “A” rating and endorsement from the NRA.

Evert: I endorse and would vote for Thomas Beach.

State House District #18

Alan Morgan www.morganforsc.com

Moved to Greer when he was in high school, and lives near downtown Greer.  Graduated from BJU and attends Morningside Baptist Church with his wife, Karis, who is a public-school teacher. Involved in local and state GOP politics for many years.  He has worked for and volunteered for conservative candidates.  Worked on Bill Connors’ campaign for Senate in 2013 against Sen. Graham. He decided to run for office after the company he worked for instituted a vaccine mandate and he left that company. The agenda he put out is to improve education, lower taxes, Pro-Life, fight corruption, 2nd Amendment, fix our roads, and no unconstitutional mandates. At the debate he supported protecting women’s sports in K–12 and college, getting rid of the Certificate of Need for hospital systems, reforming the DOT, and gave a very strong answer on why he opposes legalizing marijuana. Favors the broadest school choice options (public, charter, private, and home school) with tax credits and the money following the student. When asked who he voted for in the 2016 primary, he answered he was working on the Ted Cruz campaign, although he was very happy with what Trump had accomplished in his term. Alan not only states he is Pro-Life but has been involved in fundraising and working with the local crisis pregnancy centers for years. At the debate, Alan was by far the most knowledgeable and well-spoken of the group on every issue, and very transparent on where he stood on issues. He has a solid GOP voting record going back years. He has RAISED the most money. Endorsed by Adam Morgan, Bobby Cox, Josiah Magnuson, SC Conservative Fund (John Warren), Dr. Bob Jones III, Dr. Bob Taylor, Dell Baker, Dr. Jason B Ross, Pastor Josh Crockett, Pastor David Stockard, Paul Campbell, retired Col. Bill Connor, Thomas Chisholm, and Justin Alexander. In the special election, he received an “AQ” rating from the NRA.  Plans on going to Columbia and shaking it up, not the go-along-to-get-along candidate.

Keith Jones www.votekeithjones.com

A lifelong resident of Greenville County and the Blue Ridge and Greer area.  Former teacher and has served in the National Guard as a Staff Sergeant. Running as “Your Common Sense Candidate.” Pro Constitution, Pro 2nd Amendment, Pro law enforcement, Pro repair and maintain the existing infrastructure, anti-illegal immigration, anti-CRT in public schools, and anti-vaccine mandate. Graduated from Blue Ridge High School and Clemson for his BS and master’s degrees in industrial ed. Former teacher in the Greenville County system; after he retired, helped form the County Charter School Board. Advocate of the charter school system for years.  At the debate, took a Pro-Life position, stipulated that there are only 2 genders, and that he would support legislation protecting women’s sports; voted for Ben Carson in 2016 GOP primary, favors ending the Certificate of Need for hospital systems, against medical and recreational marijuana; when asked about school choice he went back to his support for charter schools, for the monies to follow the student, but did not stipulate for private or home school or just public. When Mr. Jones was asked about a recorded vote in the 2010 Democrat primary, he did not remember voting in a Dem primary, and believes it was a clerical error. Mr. Jones has reported the most monies raised for the campaign at $16K, but $15K of that is a loan. At times in the debate he came across as less informed on the issues and struggled sometimes to be clear in his answer. In the special primary, he did not answer the NRA questionnaire, so he received a “?.”  Plans on voting his principles while trying to work with as many legislators as possible.

The above descriptions for District 18 are what I wrote for the special election near the end of March. The one thing that was disappointing was how Mr. Jones responded to losing in the special election. I had heard rumors that he was encouraging his supporters to write his name in for the special general election. Even though Mr. Jones was going to run again, the new Greenville County GOP encouraged him to file again for the June primary. The new Greenville County GOP also encouraged someone to file against his brother Adam Morgan (who is now the chairman of the Freedom Caucus); that person has since withdrawn from the race. The leadership of the new Greenville County GOP was actively seeking people to run against both Morgan brothers.  They have an animus toward the family.

Evert: I endorse and would happily vote for Alan Morgan.

State House District #22

Brett Brocato http://brettbrocato.com/

He’s an engineer and a family man. Initially ran for this office four years ago as a write-in candidate for the general election after constituents began asking for another choice in the race after the primary. An advocate of the traditional definition of marriage. Advocate for common-sense solutions to government problems. Supports passing a sunset provision for the gas tax (a provision that would eventually make the tax go away). Supports lowering the cost of adoptions. Since he’s never yet been elected to office, he has no record. In 2020 he received an “AQ” ranking from the NRA (their highest ranking for someone not elected to office). Wants to establish school choice, pass the Personhood Amendment, and he supports the Constitutional Carry legislation. He has become one of Jeff Davis’s (the Chair of the new Greenville County GOP) biggest defenders, and because of that has lost the support of many in the BJU community (because several of them have been personally sued by Mr. Davis).  Those bridges in the community have been burnt and it will cost him on election day.  He also got in the race on the last day of filing and has raised less than $1,000.

Jason Elliott INCUMBENT http://votejasonelliott.com/         

Former staffer of Senator Jim DeMint. He is an attorney in town. Has been involved in politics locally for a long time. He is a fiscal conservative and he has a fiscal and social conservative record while in Columbia. He voted for the Save Women’s Sports bill. From what I can see he is trying to represent his district, even when his views may be different from his district. He has a 100% Pro-Life voting record. He has been endorsed by and received an “A” ranking from the NRA.

Evert: Mr. Elliott is going to win this race going away, especially since the new lines from redistricting have become more favorable to him.

State House District #27

Laird Minor http://www.votelaird.com

Army veteran from Simpsonville. Law degree (but not licensed currently). Was also a mortgage loan broker, retiring in 2017. His platform is: shrink state government, no health mandates, closed primaries, tax reform (including property tax), judicial reform, education reform, ending civil asset forfeiture, election integrity, small business protection, limit governor’s emergency powers, make SC a Bill of Rights Sanctuary state, and protect women’s sports. In the years that I’ve been writing these Electables and encouraging people to vote, I’ve often bumped into Mr. Minor. He comes from a more Libertarian viewpoint than I do. We’ve disagreed on some issues and some candidates, but generally, we’ve been quite civil, and understood each other’s point of view.  “AQ” ranking from NRA. My biggest concern is that nowhere on his website does he say where he stands on the Right to Life. Since that’s the first right that we all have, that is the most important right that I look for. For those that live in this district, ask him where he is on the issue. Raised about $15K so far.

After writing the above, I attended the debate with 3 candidates in attendance. Mr. Minor knows the issues very well and has a very reasoned answer and can explain it (he even said he has been doing what some legislators do as a hobby for the last few years, which is true). In favor of the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade so the issue would revert to the states, and is a strong Pro-Life advocate.  He further stated he believes in 1 exception—the health of the mother.  They were asked several questions: In favor of constitutional carry? Yes. In favor of closing primaries? Yes. In favor of red flag laws? No. In support of doing away with the Cert of Need? Yes. Medical right of conscience? Yes. Would you join the Freedom Caucus? Yes. Who would you choose as a mentor? Adam Morgan.

David Vaughan https://www.vaughanforsc.com/

Business owner and entrepreneur, starting several businesses. Running as a businessman bringing conservative values to the state house. Campaigning as a Pro-Life candidate. He is campaigning on the following issues: infrastructure, Pro-Life, 2nd Amendment, lower flatter taxes, Pro-law enforcement, education, making college affordable, penalties for child abuse, and parental rights. Supports school choice with power in the parents’ hands.  He would have voted for the Support Women’s Sports, is skeptical of medical marijuana bills, not in favor of recreational drug use.  He is currently on a County Infrastructure Board appointed by the County State Legislators.  He has by far raised the most funds with over $40K. Received a “B” ranking from the NRA, which is my biggest concern--a “B” from the NRA is not a very strong gun-rights vote. For those that live in this district, ask him where he is on the issue. Endorsed by Somer Flowers and Lenna Fox Smith (Pro-Life leader).

After writing the above, I attended the debate with 3 candidates in attendance. Mr. Vaughan is very passionate and knowledgeable about the roads and infrastructure issues. He explained the NRA rank was because he agreed with having a CWP to open carry, and stated that it is the current law and the sheriff and legislators support it.  They were asked several questions as follows: In favor of constitutional carry? Yes. In favor of closing primaries? Yes. In favor of red flag laws? No. In support of doing away with the Cert of Need? Yes. Medical right of conscience? Yes. Would you join the Freedom Caucus? Yes. Who would you choose as a mentor? Patrick Haddon and Bruce Bannister.

Cynthia Horner http://www.votehorner.com       

A chiropractor from Simpsonville, a former coach and physical education teacher who moved here from NJ in 1993. Refers to herself as a “Conservative Constitutional Patriot.” Campaign issues are freedom in health, freedom of information, freedom of speech, freedom to keep and bear arms, freedom of education, and freedom for the unborn. Received an “AQ” ranking from the NRA. Raised about $15K so far.

After writing the above, I attended the debate with 3 candidates in attendance. Cynthia Horner could not attend; a close family friend passed away and she was at the viewing. Pray for the family.

Ira Williams No website found                   

A medical doctor as far I could learn. Some of the research I found was a post in which he said running for office was on his bucket list. Everything else I’ve found in reference to him has been his published works regarding misdiagnoses. I kind of get the impression that he’s running to get his name out there so he can sell more books. Received an “AQ” ranking from the NRA. He really is a 1 issue candidate.

Evert: With 3 well-funded candidates in the race, I am expecting a run-off.  The top two candidates are Laird Minor, and David Vaughan.  Mr. Minor is in my opinion more knowledgeable on more issues and is a scrappy, fighter who wishes to advocate for the conservative cause.  Mr. Vaughan is very knowledgeable on several issues, a businessman, who “Loves the Art of the Deal”.  If you want a scrappy fighter, Minor is your candidate; if you like the businessman, salesman, then that is Mr. Vaughn.

State House District #36

Rita Allison – INCUMBENT www.ritaallison.com   

Former small business owner and lifelong resident of Lyman. She has been a very strong supporter of the public school system. She has championed the prevention of domestic violence. She was a member of the District Five Spartanburg County School Board before becoming a House member. The issues she lists on her website are education first, lower taxes and less government, constituent service, true conservative values, and reforming healthcare. She has only recently come to support school choice. Voted for the save women’s sports bill. She has a 100% Pro-Life voting record and received an “A” ranking from the NRA and their endorsement. She’s been endorsed by Henry McMaster, Alan Wilson, and many other Spartanburg officials.

Rob Harris www.harrisforsc.com

Rob has been a registered nurse for 27 years, so he is well-versed in the medical profession. He got involved in politics after 2020 for a variety of reasons, including opposing vaccine mandates and passports. He lists these issues on his website: citizens first, personhood, medical freedom, Constitutional Carry, election integrity, legal immigration, God-given genders, school choice, limited gov., fiscal conservatism, repairing roads, tax cuts using budget surplus, Sales tax v. Income tax, constitutional sovereignty, property owner rights. Received a ranking of “AQ” from the NRA. Has raised $20K, which is very good for a challenger. It’s nice to see someone from the medical field supporting medical freedom.

Since writing the above, it has come to my attention that Mr. Harris is an ally of Greenville County’s Jeff Davis; even bringing Mr. Davis to a Spartanburg GOP business meeting where Mr. Davis was advising Mr. Harris on motions and how to get committees voted on like in Greenville County. Because of this, I will be changing my recommendation below, which is a first in a very long time.

Evert:  I think it’s time for a change in this district, but I could not vote for someone that is closely associated with Jeff Davis. Therefore, I would vote for Rita Allison.

Greenville County Treasurer

Al Hodges www.hodgesfortreasurer.com     

Currently VP of Stokes & Company CPAs in Greenville. Serves on the board of the SC Association of CPAs. Worked as a CPA and financial executive in the Greenville area for 40 years. He has worked as a Corporate Controller for a Fortune 500 company, and a CFO. He has a record in the private sector of seeking to make improvements and provide leadership in the business world. Scott Case (current Greenville County Auditor and former County Councilman) and many other CPAs are supporting him. His goals are increasing openness & accessibility, improving customer service, pursuing cost & system efficiencies, and broadening financial accomplishments. Currently, Greenville is the only county in which the tax collector department is not run by the Treasurer, though it is meant to function under the Treasurer. I believe Mr. Hodges has the expertise to help fix that problem. Mr. Hodges has been endorsed by Dr. Steve Pettit, Dr. Bob III, Dan Hamilton, Kathy and Bobby Davis, Jimmy Wilson CPA, and Randy Page There are a lot of CPAs who’ve endorsed his candidacy.

Michael Carter www.carterfortreasurer.com       

Worked in the Treasurer’s office for 10 years; as deputy treasurer for the last two. He is a Certified Treasury Professional by the Association of Financial Professionals. His training and experience from the current Treasurer will allow him to continue the status quo in the office, which if you read all his materials, it is very clear that this is his intent. Graduated from Clemson with Business Mgmt. Former chairman of the Greenville Young Republicans. Lives in TR. Endorsed by Jill Kintigh (current Treasurer).

Evert: I endorse and will vote for Al Hodges.

When you have someone from the private sector who has proven to be an innovator and a leader, I will vote for that person every time, especially when it deals with financial matters. I do not believe that the status quo is sufficient for this office any longer; it’s been in a status quo mode for over 20 years, and it is time for some restructuring and change. Private sector business leaders bring a different mindset to customer service and efficiencies in an office than government employees do. Both are good men, but there’s no way you can compare the experience of Mr. Carter to that of Mr. Hodges. If Mr. Hodges were not running for this seat, then I could see myself voting for Mr. Carter, but I cannot pass over Mr. Hodges’s wealth of business experience and the leadership he will provide.

Greenville County Council District # 17

Joe Dill – INCUMBENT www.joedillforcountycouncil.com          

Joe Dill has served on Greenville County Council for a long time. He is part of the conservative majority. Even though there are 10 Republicans on the council (of 12), a lot of votes die because it’s a 6-6 tie. He is part of that
6-member conservative Republican coalition. He has always looked at his time on council as serving his community and trying to represent his district as they would wish him to vote. He and the current chairman are two of the members that sued the council and won in the State Supreme Court over unlawful fees and taxes being collected by the county. He was part of the minority that voted to keep the pro-family resolution from 1996. He is not against growth, but he’s one to make sure that we have the infrastructure to support that growth and support first responders who need to match that growth.

Joey Russo www.votejoeyrusso.com

Former law enforcement, currently a small businessman. Running to bring a fresh vision to Greenville County. Graduate of the Citadel. Worked as a sheriff deputy for Greenville County. The issues he wants to deal with are crime, roads, overdevelopment, and jobs. These are the three items he says he wants to work on: increasing transparency in local government, investing in small businesses, and supporting smart growth and development. There are a lot of young republicans who are supporting Mr. Russo.

Evert: I endorse and will be voting for Joe Dill.

Mr. Dill has taken strong stands over the years. This is my district and I’ve always found Mr. Dill to be responsive and supportive of the community. I’ve not met Mr. Russo; he is campaigning on a very conservative platform, with maybe the exception of “smart growth and development.” The only way you slow growth is through regulations; as it stands right now, it takes a developer 450 days from the time they buy the land until they can break ground because of all the regulations in Greenville County. Even though I’m voting for Joe Dill, and I prefer him to stay in office because of his position on the conservative majority, that does not mean that I feel Mr. Russo shouldn’t run or is not a conservative. But I do have loyalty to elected officials who have taken strong, though sometimes unpopular, stands in the past.

Greenville County Council District # 19

Willis Meadows – INCUMBENT  www.willismeadows.com          

Current county council chairman. Has been a proven fiscal conservative who has fought hard through the years to protect the taxpayer and keep taxes low and regulations low, even going to the point to sue the County Council (and win at the State Supreme Court) when the county was collecting unconstitutional taxes and fees. He would rather refund a surplus to the taxpayers than spend it on pork-barrel projects. He believes we should eliminate property taxes, starting with seniors, as a small business owner he understands the need for low taxes and fewer regulations. His platform is: a strong effective voice for the community, being a leader with integrity, and being a common-sense conservative GOP. He is part of the conservative majority on council. We have had a Republican majority on council, but not a conservative majority. Endorsed by Sen. Dwight Loftis & Rep. Mike Burns

Benton Blount  www.bentonblount.com

A country music star who had moved to Nashville, but after visiting Greenville for concerts, liked the area so much he moved here. You probably see on his signs “Make District 19 Great Again”—this comes from a true Trump supporter—he tweeted his support for Trump and was promptly let go from his music contract in an absolute violation of his freedom of speech. In fact, the 3 issues he lists on his website are freedom of speech,
2nd Amendment rights and Less is More (referring to a limited government). The other major issue he lists is to build a bridge over Hwy 253 Swamp Rabbit Trail Crossing. His local agenda includes being a community servant, Trust through transparency, infrastructure first, and supporting generational businesses. I heard him interviewed and was impressed with his knowledge of local issues from someone who is nationally known.

Jackie M Clark https://www.facebook.com/jmclark4552  

A retired state trooper who was injured in a chemical accident. His vocal cords were damaged so at times you can barely hear him speak. He comes with a wealth of knowledge in the law enforcement arena. As far as I know, this is his first venture into political office. He only has a Facebook page. A recent post indicates he would oppose County Council approving funds for a bridge over Hwy 253 Swamp Rabbit Trail, preferring to have constituents vote on the issue or to spend the funds on repairing main roads. He has stated he wants to either stop or slow growth because we don’t have the infrastructure to support it.

Ivan Mathena https://ivanforcouncil.com/

He has lived in Greenville County his entire life, growing up in TR and graduating from Furman University in 2008. The three issues he had on his website were: lower taxes, safer neighborhoods, and fixing our roads. Other than that, there wasn’t much there. He has raised the most money. One of the articles that I read, when the filing deadline had ended, said that Mr. Mathena was the candidate that the Chamber of Commerce and downtown business community were supporting. I looked up his donor list and that seems to be the case since he received a maximum donation from Brad Wyche, a known liberal in Greenville County. He also received a maximum donation from the Greater Greenville Business Leadership Committee. Phillip Hughes was also a donor.

Evert: I would vote for Willis Meadows.

I do believe this is going to go to a run-off. I would prefer Blount to any of the other challengers.

Greenville County Council District # 26

Rick Bradley -  www.rickworks4u.com

Local citizen who has decided to run for county council to represent the views of his district which he believes are not being represented well by the current councilman. Is running to be the servant-leader for his constituents and to represent his district, not necessarily the county.

Lynn Ballard – INCUMBENT - www.facebook.com/people/lynn-w-ballard

He has been on the council for about 8 years. He is the swing vote on council; sometimes he makes a majority for the conservatives, sometimes for the moderates, or kills a motion by making it a tie. For example, his was the deciding vote to “sunset” all past resolutions (this was specifically a vote to do away with the pro-family resolution that was passed in 1996).

Evert: I would vote for Bradley. I think it’s time for a change in this district.

There are three questions on the ballot in the GOP primary

  1. Should people have the right to register with the political party of their choice when they register to vote?

The above would close the primary and have people register by party, thus allowing only those registered to that party to pick their nominee. 

Evert:  I would vote YES!!  I hope it can become law.

  1. Should candidates for local school boards be able to run as a candidate of the political party of their choice, just like candidates for other elected offices?

The above would allow school board candidates to run under a party label and have primaries, thus allowing only those registered to that party to pick their nominee for the local school boards. 

Evert:  I would vote YES!!

  1. In a situation where there is more than one person responsible for damages in a lawsuit, do you support changing South Carolina law so that each person should pay damages based on that person’s actual share of fault?

I don’t what is giving rise to this question, nor do I completely understand the possible ramifications. For these reasons, I would vote NO on this question.

Evert:  I would vote NO.

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About the Author, Evert Headley

Evert has been involved with politics since 1989, both at state and local levels. He considers himself to be a Reagan conservative (conservative on social, economic, and national security issues). His first issue is always the Right to Life (without that right, which is endowed by our Creator, none of the other rights even exists). His second issue is always the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) because this right guarantees the ability of individuals and states to defend the other rights. His third issue is always the First Amendment (freedom of religion, speech and assembly). His fourth issue is the defense of capitalism and the defeat of Socialism/Marxism/Fascism, along with the protection of private property rights. On the national level, we are printing too much money, spending too much money, and borrowing too much money. The federal government is trying to usurp and infringe upon the rights reserved to the states and to the individuals.

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