Labor Day is one of those pivotal dates on the calendar, the end of summer and the beginning of the fall – general election campaign.
In South Carolina this fall, nine state Senate seats – out of 46 – are being contested by at least two candidates. In the S.C. House, 36 out of 124 seats will be contested in November.
Of the 45 contested races, the largest war chest has been amassed by Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, who had $208,417 on hand as of July 10. Setzler faces a challenge for the Senate’s District 26 seat from Republican Brad Lindsey, who had only $462.07 in the bank.
Twelve candidates in contested races have no fundraising totals on file with the S.C. Election Commission – five Democrats, three Republicans, two Libertarians, and one member each from the American and Green parties.
Five of those candidates have filed state-required statements of economic interest, which contain disclosures on a candidate’s income, property holdings and other potential financial conflicts of interest. No required filings – of either campaign finances or economic interest statements – could be located on seven other candidates at all.
Setzler is one of only four candidates in this fall’s election who has more than $100,000 on hand for the fall campaign.
The others with more than $100,000 on hand are:
▪ State Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, $151,364. Courson faces two challengers, Democrat Tom Reddick and Green Party candidate Scott West – neither of whom reported having any cash on hand in July.
▪ State Sen. Glenn Reese, D-Spartanburg, $123,028. Reese’s Republican opponent, Cornelius Huff, had $684 in the bank in July.
▪ State Rep. Mia McLeod, who is running for Richland’s state Senate District 22 seat, $114,036. McLeod faces Republican Susan Brill in November. Brill had $69,332 in cash on hand and $10,000 in campaign debt as of July.
▪ State Rep. Mike Forrester, R-Spartanburg, has the biggest war chest of any House candidate, with $84,603. Challenger Luke Quillen, a Democrat, had $172 on hand in July.
Most of the legislative candidates have made it this far without racking up a lot of debt. Only 18 candidates recorded any outstanding debt, some from June primary races.
The largest debt belongs to Mike Fanning, the Democratic nominee in Senate District 17, who owes $45,000 from his successful effort to defeat incumbent state Sen. Creighton Coleman, D-Fairfield, in the June primary.
State Rep. Patricia Henegan, the Marlboro Democrat who represents House District 54, has the most debt of any candidate unchallenged in a primary – $13,050.
S.C. legislative candidates will file updated campaign numbers by Oct. 10, five weeks before Election Day.
On the November ballot
A look at S.C. legislative races:
Percentage of seats in the state Senate and S.C. House where only one candidate will be on the ballot in November
9 of 46
State Senate races are contested
36 of 124
S.C. House races are contested