Other Lexington County races to watch

November 4, 2012 

Council District 3

The district includes most of the town of Lexington plus surrounding areas to the west and north, including many neighborhoods on the south shore of Lake Murray.

Who’s running: Republican nominee Kent Collins and petition candidates Scott Adams, Wes Howard, Darrell Hudson and Anthony Keisler

What’s at stake: The steadily-growing center of the county will settle a new voice on a panel that oversees taxes and spending for many services amid trying to lure new jobs to the area. The race is a delayed GOP primary contest — the four petition candidates are back on the ballot after being among 250 candidates statewide removed by court order for failure to file financial information correctly.

Lexington-Richland 5 school board

The district includes schools in the Irmo, Chapin, Dutch Fork, Harbison and St. Andrews areas, most of which straddle the two counties in an area north of Lake Murray and the Saluda River.

Who’s running: Jan Hammond, Jondy Loveless, Beth Burn Watson and Ed Yates for two seats in Lexington County and Melissa Cole and Robert Gantt for one seat in Richland County. Hammond, Watson and Gantt are incumbents. The races are nonpartisan.

What’s at stake: Tension persists between residents who promote steady improvement in classrooms rated among the best in South Carolina and those who insist there’s overspending, particularly as enrollment has leveled off. Gantt, Loveless and Watson are running as a team promising to stand firm against what they say are unreasonable demands from fiscal conservatives.

Senate District 26

The district includes the eastern and southern parts of Lexington County plus parts of Aiken, Calhoun and Saluda counties. Communities in it include Cayce, Dixiana, Gaston, Springdale, Swansea and West Columbia.

Who’s running: Incumbent Democrat Nikki Setzler of West Columbia and Republican Deedee Vaughters of Aiken

What’s at stake: Republicans are seeking to increase their dominance in the Legislature. Vaughters is popular with GOP social conservatives. It’s the first major challenge in a while for Setzler, a 36-year-incumbent who is the last Democrat in a Republican stronghold.

Tim Flach

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