Voters in House District 70 have been without a voice in the S.C. House since the death of longtime state Rep. Joe Neal earlier this year.
That changed Tuesday as Wendy Brawley was elected to the long Democratic seat by a wide margin.
Brawley, a Hopkins Democrat, defeated Republican Bill Strickland of Sumter to take the seat, representing Lower Richland and the western portion of Sumter County.
“It feels good that people believe in me,” Brawley said at her victory party in Hopkins. “It’s important first to continue the legacy of Rep. Neal and, also, to be a leader in these troubled political times that people can count on.”
Brawley, 58, is publisher and chief executive of IMARA Woman magazine. She previously was on the Richland 1 school board, where she was chairwoman.
Brawley won the House seat after an unsuccessful bid to unseat state Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, in the 2016 Democratic primary.
The House seat came open when longtime state Rep. Neal died earlier this year. Neal, a pastor and civil rights activist, held the seat for 25 years.
Brawley defeated seven opponents in the Democratic primary, winning a runoff over farmer Heath Hill.
Before the primary, Brawley received the endorsement of Neal’s family, as well as the S.C. Progressive Network and the Progressive Legislative Caucus, which Neal co-founded in the House.
S.C. HOUSE 70 RESULTS:
(100 percent reporting)
Wendy Brawley (D): 78 percent
Bill Strickland (R): 22 percent