DISTRICT 41: PAUL THURMOND

Republican Paul Thurmond would bring solid fiscal-conservative credentials to the S.C. Senate. Running for the District 41 seat long filled by former Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, who gave it up to become lieutenant governor, Mr. Thurmond fairly asserts that he’s “got the skills” to help make state government more efficient. He consistently displayed that ability during his four years on Charleston County Council.

Among the positive changes he championed on council: Ending the practice of “handing out taxpayer money to charities”; finally getting a new county jail built; injecting more price competition into bids for road projects; putting the county budget and all salaries over $50,000 online; and closing the incinerator.

All of that was accomplished without a tax hike, and the county even managed a tax cut the final year on council for Mr. Thurmond, who ardently advocates “reducing the burden of government.”

Yet as council’s vice chairman, he often found practical common ground with a 6-3 Democratic majority “to get things done.”

He favors completing I-526. And while he opposes Gov. Nikki Haley’s port deal with Georgia, he supports her push for ethics reform.

The candidate’s late father Strom long served as Sen. Thurmond in Washington. But Paul Thurmond is the right choice in District 41 on his own merits.

DISTRICT 45: CLEMENTA PINCKNEY

Democrat Clementa Pinckney, during three terms in the S.C. Senate, has demonstrated an impressive grasp across a wide range of issues affecting our state’s future. District 45 voters should give him another term.

Sen. Pinckney, whose mostly rural district stretches across six counties, from Johns Island to the Savannah River, stresses economic development and job growth in low-income communities. Though we don’t agree with him and Gov. Nikki Haley in their support for dredging the Savannah River to facilitate Georgia’s port business, the senator does make a compelling argument for “a regional focus” on that essential commerce — and for developing the Jasper port as an alternative after Charleston “maxes out.”

He’s correct in emphasizing that soaring tuitions at our public universities increasingly put college “out of reach” for too many S.C. families.

And he rightly laments “immense infrastructure needs” — especially for rural roads. He even dares to suggest consideration of finally raising the state’s gas tax, long among the nation’s lowest.

Pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, he stresses constituent service and calls his senatorial duties “an extension of my ministry, an opportunity to meet the needs of the people within our community and state.”

Sen. Pinckney has used that opportunity to positive effect. He deserves a fourth term.