Wednesday, June 18, 2014
District 6 Republican primary voters heading back to the polls on June 24 will need to decide between incumbent County Councilman Jack Schurlknight and former S.C. Rep. James Law.
District 6 consists of Bonneau Beach, Overton, Macedonia, Moncks Corner, Berkeley Club Estates, Whitesville, Windwood, Pinopolis, Highway 17A South, and Lazyhill Road.
Last week, Schurlknight was unable to avoid a runoff while facing Law and challenger Baron Thomas.
Schurlknight earned a win of a little more than 200 votes with 1,646 votes over Law’s 1,417.
Thomas earned 585 votes. Had those votes gone to either of the other candidates, Schurlknight and Law could have won out-right.
Thomas announced last week he will endorse Law.
Both candidates are hoping to see more voters at the polls than the dismal 17 percent turnout among registered voters last week.
The only voters excluded from the June 24 runoff would be those who voted in the June 10 Democratic primary.
“That 17 percent turnout was real, real low. We need better representation from the voters,” Schurlknight said.
“We can do a beter job with getting our people out to vote this time,” Law said. “It’s our goal to get more people involved. The 17 percent turnout was awful. In a race like this, a runoff, it’s going to be all about getting their people to the polls.”
Schurlknight has held his seat for eight years. Political veteran Law is looking for another seat to serve in Berkeley County. Law is also a former mayor of Moncks Corner.
Schurlknight said he was not surprised to land in a runoff with Law.
“James is well known around District 6 with the experience he’s had in politics,” Schurlknight said.
Where the candidates seem to differ the most is on economic development. Schurlknight was for purchasing the Highway 52 nursery several years ago as an economic development attraction and an attempt to retain hundreds of jobs from the ailing nursery.
“We need to fund fire, police, EMS — but, also, we need to be a leader in economic development and recruit good businesses,” Schurlknight said.
Law said the county’s job is to maintain safety and improve roads, not compete with private land owners who might want to build an industrial park.
“We need to stick to those core functions of government,” Law said.
With a divided county council, which has in recent years favored County Councilman Tim Callanan instead of Supervisor Dan Davis, Law also said Schurlknight adds to the divisiveness. Schurlknight often supports Davis.
Schurlknight said he’s a teamplayer, not a divisive figure.
“I’ve always been a team player all my life. I will continue to be a team player, but my top priority is to continue to be a conservative member of council and to serve first the people of Berkeley County and District 6,” Schurlknight said.
Whoever receives the Republican nod June 24 will go unchallenged by opposing parties in the November general election and will likely go on to be sworn into the seat in January, barring a successful write-in campaign.