Local elected officials are seeking state House and Senate seats this year across the Midlands, particularly in Richland County.
Filing ended Wednesday, with a flurry of last-minute candidates.
Seeking to become state lawmakers are Richland County Council members Torrey Rush and Bill Malinowski, Richland 2 School Board members Susan Brill and Monica Elkins, Pine Ridge Mayor David Busby, West Columbia City Councilman Tem Miles and 11th Circuit assistant solicitor Micah Caskey.
Former office holders have filed for legislative seats as well: Lexington County Council members Bill Banning and Billy Oswald as well as former West Columbia councilwoman Peggy Butler.
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Meanwhile, Richland 2 school board member Calvin “Chip” Jackson is seeking to move to County Council. Lexington County recreation commission member Brian Duncan, too, is running for County Council there.
The filings come amid frustration with declining state aid and stalemates in the General Assembly over improving education and roads.
County Council, mayor and school boards are good “breeding grounds” for those who want to become lawmakers, said Howard Duvall, a Columbia city councilman who is a former executive director of the state Municipal Association.
But success in using those posts as a steppingstone to the Legislature is “a mixed bag,” he said.
Many showdowns will occur in the June 14 party primary elections. Other contests will wait until the Nov. 8 ballot.
The races could change significantly the makeup of Richland County Council, where 6 of 11 members could be newcomers and only incumbent Joyce Dickerson of St. Andrews is unopposed. Council members have been under fire for problems cited by state revenue officials in the use of proceeds from a penny sales tax adopted by voters in 2012 for road improvements and bus service.
Contests attracting early interest in political circles include:
▪ Senate District 19 in Richland County, where County Council chairman Rush is taking on veteran John Scott in the Democratic showdown.
▪ Senate District 22 in Richland County, where Democrat Rep. Mia McLeod will face Republican Brill. Incumbent Democrat Joel Lourie is retiring.
▪ House District 79 in Richland County, where Elkins is among five candidates vying to win the post McLeod is giving up.
▪ House District 89 in Lexington County, where state Rep. Kenny Bingham’s retirement produced six would-be successors: Banning, Butler, Caskey, Miles, Oswald and Robert Lampley.
▪ The 11th circuit solicitor race, since longtime prosecutor Donnie Myers is retiring after 40 years; three Lexington County Republicans have filed.
▪ Lexington County Council’s seat in the Chapin-Irmo area. Four Republicans are competing to succeed Johnny Jeffcoat, who is retiring after representing the area after 20 years. The other four council incumbents also have challengers.
▪ The Lexington County Clerk of Court race, where three Republicans are seeking to succeed Beth Carrigg, who is stepping down after 12 years.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483