The 9th Circuit Solicitor's Republican primary contest between Scarlett Wilson and Blair Jennings is one of the most expensive local races in Lowcountry history, with the candidates expected to raise a total of more than $500,000 before Tuesday's election.
Jennings had raised $258,133 as of May 25, according to forms filed with the State Ethics Commission, while Wilson had raised $225,839 as of early April. Her pre-election form was not on file with the State Ethics Commission as of Friday afternoon.
Political observers such as College of Charleston Dean of Students and political scientist Jeri Cabot aren't necessarily surprised at the big sums: The judicial circuit covers a big area — Berkeley and Charleston counties — and both Wilson and Jennings are seen as candidates with bright political futures.
"I do think they want to be perceived as credible," she said, "and one way to do that is showing how much money you can raise and who is raising it for you."
The solicitor's race isn't guaranteed to set a record for local races. That mark might be held by the 2007 Charleston mayoral race in which incumbent Mayor Joe Riley alone raised more than $680,000.
But the solicitor's race is more expensive than other hotly contested Lowcountry primaries, such as the race for Dorchester County sheriff. Republicans L.C. Knight and Terry Boatwright have raised $65,500 and $25,865, respectively, as of late May. Knight had $27,173 on hand as of May 28 while Boatwright had only $108 left.
Charleston County Coroner Rae H. Wooten had raised $9,753 and had $585 on hand as of early April, the latest form on file with the state, while her Republican opponent Robert L. Dunlap Jr. had raised $18,294 and had $4,401 on hand as of late May.
In Senate District 42, state Sen. Robert Ford raised more than $75,000 since early April and had about $13,000 on hand during the past two weeks. Ford had raised about $31,700 as of early April, less than half of what Democratic opponent Dwayne Green had raised.
But those numbers have switched. Green's pre-election report shows he has raised only about $13,300 since early April — or $75,700 for the election. He had almost $6,000 on hand as of last week. Ford has raised $107,528.16 overall.
In the District 38 GOP race, Mike Rose reported having raised $70,807 for the election, including $49,500 in loans but had only $1,171 on hand as of late May. Meanwhile, incumbent Sen. Randy Scott had raised $90,603 and had $39,197 on hand.
In state House District 94, Heyward Hutson had raised $17,269 and had $12,535 on hand. Challenger Jenny A. Horne had raised $40,466 and had $8,374 on hand.
In state House District 98, incumbent Annette D. Young had raised $105,654 and had $94,713 on hand. Her Republican opponent, Tara Bussjager, had raised $3,655 and had $1,623 on hand.
In the state House District 111 Democratic primary, Clay Middleton has raised $54,233.64 and has $18,631 on hand as the primary date nears. Charleston City Councilman Wendell Gilliard had raised $24,745 and had $5,783 on hand, while former City Councilman Maurice Washington had raised $35,889 and had $6,688 on hand.
In the District 112 GOP race, Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Joe Bustos had raised $22,795 and had $16,077 on hand, while Isle of Palms Mayor Mike Sottile had raised $45,524 and had $24,390 on hand.
In District 115, Anne Peterson Hutto had raised $25,857 and had $12,304 on hand, while Democratic opponent Eugene Platt had raised $17,919 and had $999 on hand.
In state House District 117, Charleston County Council Chairman Tim Scott had raised $95,432 and had $59,016 on hand — more than five times what his two GOP opponents generated. Berkeley County Councilman Bill Crosby raised $9,667 and had $5,320 on hand. Former Rep. Wheeler Tillman had raised $3,133 and had $2,847 on hand.
To research candidates' fundraising, contributors and expenses, check out the State Ethics Commission Web site: www.sc.gov/PublicReporting/IndividualReports.aspx.
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