Democratic voters in Senate District 42 will go to the polls Tuesday to choose among six candidates hoping to fill the seat formerly held by Robert Ford.
The hopefuls include Charleston lawyer Emmanuel Ferguson, retired jobs counselor Herbert S. Fielding, Charleston lawyer Marlon Kimpson, North Charleston businesswoman Margaret Rush, contractor Bob Thompson and former North Charleston City Councilman Maurice Washington.
What voters should know
For profiles of the candidates and other coverage of the Senate 42 Democratic primary battle, go to postandcourier.com/senate-42.
From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the same places used for last November’s general election. (Polling places also may be found at postandcourier.com/senate42-polling). Voters in line by 7 p.m. will be able to vote.
The state’s new Voter ID requirements will be in effect, so voters should bring either: a driver’s license or ID card issued by S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles; a state voter registration card with a photo; a federal military ID or a U.S. passport.
Those who do not have an ID may vote but first must sign a form stating why they could not get one of those photo IDs.
This Senate district was redrawn two years ago and stretches from some of West Ashley’s oldest neighborhoods to parts of downtown Charleston and up through North Charleston.
To find out if you’re in District 42 and eligible to vote Tuesday, go to scvotes.org and click on the “Voters” and “Check your voter registration” tabs.
In-person absentee voting will end at 5 p.m. Monday at the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration Office at 4367 Headquarters Road, North Charleston. All other absentee ballots must arrive in that office by 7 p.m. Tuesday.
If no Democratic candidate gets 50 percent, there will be an Aug. 27 runoff. All registered voters in the district will be eligible to vote in that runoff, regardless of whether they vote Tuesday.
The crowded field means it’s unlikely any candidate will top the 50 percent mark and that Democrats will return to the polls two weeks later to choose between the top two vote getters.
Ford resigned in May, as fellow senators determined he improperly used his campaign account for his own use. He said his health made him unable to fight those charges.
Ford has thrown his support to Washington, while state Rep. Wendell Gilliard, a Charleston Democrat who was considered a front-runner for the seat had he run, is backing Kimpson.
Kimpson has raised the most money by far and has emphasized how he will fight for the district. Ferguson is the youngest candidate and has positioned himself as the freshest face in the contest.
Both Rush and Washington have played up their many years of public service experience, including long stints on the S.C. Highway Commission and Charleston City Council, respectively.
Washington has faced an unusual headwind, as Charleston County Democratic Chair Richard Hricik has sent out numerous messages questioning if Washington is, in fact, a Democrat. Washington, who has run for office before as a Democrat, a Republican and as an independent, has fought back by saying he has always been willing to reach across the aisle.
Fielding’s father, Herbert U. Fielding, held the Senate seat before Ford, but Fielding has talked about how his experience as a jobs counselor would help him address one of the district’s biggest issues: unemployment.
And Thompson has used a folksy style to talk about his political experience in Georgia and about how whoever wins will face a learning curve in Columbia.
The Democratic winner will face off on Oct. 1 against Republican real estate agent Billy Shuman and Libertarian Alex Thornton, who was chosen over Rodney Travis during the party’s convention Saturday in Columbia.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.