The two Republicans vying to be chief prosecutor in Lexington County and three neighboring counties are taking different approaches to their showdown at the polls Tuesday.
The pair of former assistant prosecutors are rivals to succeed Donnie Myers, who is retiring at 71 after serving a state record 40 years as 11th Circuit solicitor.
Hubbard, who lives in the Gilbert area, is busy reminding supporters there’s a second showdown. “I’m reaching out by phone and by foot,” he said, an effort supplemented by televised ads, mailings and social media highlighting 22 years of experience that he says makes him ready from the start.
His campaign is showcasing endorsements from legislators on top of those from law enforcement leaders.
The support shows Hubbard is part of “a new generation of leadership” in the steadily growing area that’s a mix of suburbs, small towns and farms, campaign adviser Luke Byars said.
That theme is designed to counter Lively’s contention that Hubbard would provide “more of the same,” battling crime in ways she says are old-fashioned.
Her campaign is branding Hubbard as “Myers 2.0.” It’s part of an effort to convince voters that Hubbard, once Myers’ top deputy, shares responsibility for a backlog of unsettled cases and decisions unpopular with some crime victims.
“I’m really drawing out the distinctions,” Lively said.
Her message is spread mostly on social media, supplemented by a mailing and a few radio ads after receiving donations following an appeal for $35,000 for the two-week runoff.
Endorsements for her come from social advocacy groups, such as those opposed to drunken driving, and law enforcement officials in the Grand Strand, where she was a former senior prosecutor.
Lively is facing last-minute questions about why she registered to vote only when she became a candidate in mid-March.
She says she applied to transfer her registration when moving to the Chapin area 3 1/2 years ago, but didn’t discover until this spring that it inexplicably wasn’t accomplished.
Meanwhile, Hubbard is denying rumors he will hire Myers as a part-time assistant for death penalty trials. Myers is battling his third arrest for an alcohol-related traffic offense in 11 years.
“I’m not hiring Donnie back,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard fell just short of the more than 50 percent vote total required to win the three-candidate primary ballot June 14. The third-place finisher who was eliminated, Larry Wedekind, supports him.
Lexington County is the focus of the contest since it is home to 83 percent of voters as well as both candidates in the state’s 11th Judicial Circuit. But both are paying attention to voters in adjoining Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda counties as well.
Hubbard, 51, left a job as an assistant state attorney general to run. Lively, 46, trains prosecutors and police to investigate child abuse as part of the University of South Carolina law school faculty.
The runoff winner will succeed Myers, since no one else is on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election.
Both campaigns expect a turnout of no more than 12,000 voters, less than half of the slightly more than 28,000 in the primary. Overall, there are nearly 205,000 registered voters in the four counties.
So far, nearly 1,000 absentee ballots have been cast in Lexington County, election officials said.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483
Other races are on the runoff ballot Tuesday in Lexington County, all among Republicans:
House District 89(Cayce-West Columbia): Micah Caskey and Tem Miles
County Council District 3 (Lexington and south side of Lake Murray): Darrell Hudson and Brad Matthews
County Council District 6 (Chapin, Irmo and Lexington): Erin Long Bergeson and Dino Teppara
Clerk of Court: Lisa Comer and Emily Hinson
Register of Deeds: Rich Bolen and Tina Guerry