COLUMBIA — While the top-of-the-ticket race for South Carolina governor and lieutenant governor have garnered most of the attention, voters will also be asked to choose several other statewide leaders in Tuesday's election.
Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom and Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers did not draw Democratic opponents, practically guaranteeing their re-election.
But several other top GOP officials will need to defeat challengers Tuesday to ensure another term.
Once considered a likely contender to become the state’s next governor, Republican Attorney General Alan Wilson saw his political stock plummet in recent years because of his extensive connections to political consultant Richard Quinn, whose firm has been at the center of the Statehouse corruption probe.
Despite constant speculation in Columbia, Wilson was never indicted as part of the investigation, and he fended off two combative GOP primary challengers who questioned his ethics.
Now, Democrat Constance Anastopoulo is trying to make a similar case. Touting her background as a professor of ethics at the Charleston School of Law, Anastopoulo says she’s running for the office to “clean up corruption.”
Voters may recognize Anastopoulo’s last name from the renowned TV ads of her husband: “Don’t scream, call Akim!” The family hosted fundraisers for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and have poured significant amounts of their own money into Anastopoulo’s campaign.
As he did during the primary, Wilson has pushed back hard, arguing that there is “no one in the state of South Carolina who has fought public corruption harder than me.” Seeking a third term, Wilson has emphasized his experience in the office and support from law enforcement officials.
Secretary of State
Much like Wilson, incumbent Republican Secretary of State Mark Hammond was forced to withstand multiple GOP primary challengers in June, overcoming criticism that he had failed to complete one of the most basic requirements of the job: Affixing the state seal to laws that pass through the Statehouse.
Now he faces Melvin Whittenburg, a retired Army major who has campaigned relentlessly across the state, earning plaudits from top Democrats for his efforts.
No Democratic challenger has gotten within 13 percent of Hammond since he first won the job in 2002. After Hammond's 16 years in office, Whittenburg argues it's time for a change.
Incumbent Republican Curtis Loftis faces Democratic challenger Rosalyn Glenn, another down-ballot candidate who has run a vigorous campaign traveling around the state in the race to oversee the state's finances.
Because Glenn and Whittenburg are the only two African-American candidates in statewide races, they have been tasked in particular with helping Democrats turn out black voters, a key demographic if the state's longtime minority party is to have any chance of an upset.
Loftis has touted his "tight money management" and investing decisions as helping to save the state's taxpayers millions.
Glenn contends the office needs to increase transparency and work harder to help address the state's pension debts.
Superintendent of Education
Republican Molly Spearman is close to a lock for a second term after the Democratic nominee for the state's top education position, Israel Romero, dropped out of the race last month.
While Romero cited illness as the reason, his decision came shortly after reports emerged that he had a 2008 felony conviction for unauthorized practice of law, which could have prevented him from serving.
Romero's decision came too late to take him off the ballot or replace him with another nominee. But in Romero's place, Charleston middle school teacher Michele Phillips launched a write-in campaign.
Voters will also be deciding whether or not the superintendent should even be an elected official anymore, or if the governor should appoint the position with confirmation from the state Senate.