Nov 4, 2020
South Carolina 2020 Election Results
In what can only be described as a red Republican wave, upsets resonated across the Palmetto State on Tuesday night and into the day Wednesday. Penry Gustafson defeated Democrat Vincent Sheheen, who served 20 years in the Senate, by a 51-49 margin, while Floyd Nicholson, who represents a district that has been Democratic since at least 1966, was defeated 56-44% by Republican Billy Garrett. Republican Josh Kimbrell also defeated Spartanburg Democrat Glenn Reese 55-45. With the retirement of Senators John Matthews and Paul Campbell, there are now five open seats on the influential Senate Finance Committee.
In Charleston county, where some legislative shifts were expected, the makeup of the legislative delegation remained the same. The political makeup of the Senate, which was previously 27-19, has now shifted to a 30-16 Republican majority.
There will be six new Senators at the beginning of the 2021 session:
- Billy Garrett (District 10 – Greenwood) – Garrett is a conservative businessman who opened the Garrett Law Firm and Greenwood Mediation Center after 16 years in the grocery industry.
- Josh Kimbrell (District 11 – Spartanburg) – A native of Spartanburg, Kimbrell is the former chairman of the Spartanburg County Republican Party and is a conservative voice on Upstate radio.
- Michael Johnson (District 16 – Lancaster) – Johnson currently serves as the Chair of York County Council and has previously served on the Fort Mill School Board.
- Penry Gustafson (District 27 – Kershaw) – Gustafson serves on the Board of Directors of Food for the Soul and volunteers with a number of nonprofits in her community.
- Vernon Stephens (District 39 – Orangeburg) – Stephens is a lifelong resident of Bowman and a former Orangeburg County School Board Trustee.
- Brian Adams (District 44 – Berkeley) – Adams, who retired as a North Charleston police officer last year, began his service as a volunteer firefighter and a first responder with Berkeley County EMS.
*At the time of this newsletter, the race for Senate District 41 (Sandy Senn) had not yet been called. It is anticipated that Senator Senn will retain this seat.
S.C. House of Representatives
The Republican Party in the House of Representatives followed the same trend as the Senate, with Republicans picking up two seats, taking the House to an 81-43 majority.
There will be 15 new members in the House of Representatives next year after retirements, primary losses and after two incumbents, Mandy Powers Norrell and Laurie Funderburk, were defeated in Tuesday’s election.
The 15 new members of the House are as follows:
- Jerry Carter (District 3 – Pickens) – Carter is retired and previously served as the CEO of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
- Travis Moore (District 33 – Spartanburg) – Moore is a graduate of The Citadel who currently serves in the SC National Guard. A graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, Travis currently works in a private practice.
- Roger Nutt (District 34 – Spartanburg) – Roger is a licensed Professional Engineer and serves as Chairman of the Spartanburg County Public Works Building and Grounds Committee.
- Sandy McGarry (District 44 – Lancaster) – McGarry is the current chair of the Lancaster County Republican Party.
- Vic Dabney (District 52 – Kershaw) – Dabney enlisted in the US Army in 1980 and although he is no longer engaged in active duty, he operates the Apache flight simulator at McEntire Joint National Guard Base.
- Kimberly Johnson (District 64 – Clarendon) – Johnson, who served in the military for eight years, is the Director of Community Engagement for HopeHealth and is the board chair of Clarendon County School District Two.
- Jermaine Johnson (District 80 – Richland) – Johnson played basketball at College of Charleston and professionally overseas for many years. He is the founder and CEO of New Economic Beginnings Foundation and serves as a Richland County Recreation Commissioner.
- RJ May (District 88 – Lexington) – May is a political consultant who previously served as the Executive Director of the SC Club for Growth.
- Gil Gatch (District 94 – Dorchester) – Gatch is an attorney and former pastor who was born and raised in Summerville.
- Ryan McCabe (District 96 – Lexington) – Ryan is a lawyer who represents land and condominium developers, and does construction law and litigation.
- Mark Smith (District 99 – Berkeley) – A former Mt. Pleasant town councilman, Smith is owner and President of McAlister-Smith Funeral Homes and is chairman of the SC Advisory Council on Aging.
- Case Brittain (District 107 – Horry) – Brittain is a trial attorney in the Myrtle Beach area.
- Deon Tedder (District 109 – Charleston) – Tedder is an attorney whose main area of practice is personal injury and criminal defense.
- Joe Bustos (District 112 – Charleston) – Bustos is a retired U.S. Army Officer, former police officer and town Councilman for Mt. Pleasant.
- Chardale Murray (District 116 – Charleston) – Murray is currently a member of Hollywood Town Council.
The first year of the two year 2021-2022 legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 12, 2021. The House of Representatives will hold an organizational session on December 1 where members will receive committee assignments.
Republican Lindsey Graham defeated Democrat Jamie Harrison, 55-44% in a hotly contested race that gained national attention over recent months. Harrison, who broke national Senate fundraising records, could not overcome Graham’s stronghold in the state and Graham will begin another six-year term in the US Senate.
Republicans retook South Carolina’s First Congressional District in a 51-49% upset as Nancy Mace defeated Joe Cunningham. Mace is the first female to win the 1st District and is the first South Carolina woman in Congress since the 1980s.
In South Carolina’s Second District, Joe Wilson handily defeated political newcomer Adair Boroughs, sending him back to DC for a 10th term. US Representative Jim Clyburn will be the only Democrat representing the state in Congress with William Timmons, Jeff Duncan, and Ralph Norman cruising to victory in the Palmetto State as well.