Compiled by Nicole Collins and Angelique Jarvis-Simmons, Staff Writers
The Woodruff Times asked the candidates running for U.S. Senate, State House of Representatives District 35 and Spartanburg County Council District 4 to submit questionnaires. Here’s what they want voters to know going into the polls on Nov. 3.
Candidates to Represent South Carolina in the U.S. Senate
Incumbent Lindsey Graham will face Democrat Jamie Harrison in the race for U.S. Senate. Although his name will appear on the ballot, Dr. Bill Bledsoe of the Constitution party has withdrawn his candidacy for U.S. Senate for South Carolina and will now be supporting Senator Lindsey Graham. Members of the Senate serve a six-year term.
Current occupation: U.S. Senator
Where he lives: Seneca, S.C.
Why he wants to represent South Carolina in the U.S. Senate? “Now more than ever before, South Carolina needs a senator with experience and a proven track record of conservative successes. We must continue the progress we have made, especially as the Senate considers a new Supreme Court nominee. As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am tasked with holding hearings for President Trump’s nominee. I have helped President Trump confirm over 200 conservative judges, including two Supreme Court justices, and I look forward to making it three!”
Previous Political Experience: Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives (1993-1995), U.S. House of Representatives (1995-2003), U.S. Senate (2003-Present)
Top Focus Areas: “My South Carolina roots, blue-collar upbringing, service in Congress, and time in the military have provided me such a background. Our country cannot afford to move backward after all we have achieved these last four years and maintaining Republican control of the Senate is of the utmost importance. I am proud of my record of cutting taxes and regulation, defending life, standing up for men and women in uniform, and confirming a record number of conservative judges as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I have proven that I’m a conservative leader who gets things done, so I ask for the support of voters in the upcoming election on Nov. 3.”
Current occupation: Candidate for U.S. Senate in South Carolina
Where he lives: Columbia, S.C.
Why he wants to represent South Carolina in the U.S. Senate? “I’m running so every child in South Carolina can achieve the American dream, just like I did. I was born in Orangeburg to a single mother, and didn’t have much growing up. But I was taught to live by faith, and learned the values of hard work and honesty. With the help of mentors, I rose out of poverty and became the first in my family to attend college. Stories like mine are becoming less common, and so much has to be done to put the American dream within reach for every South Carolinian.
We have to expand Medicaid and protect our rural hospitals, four of which have closed in the last few years. We have to fix our crumbling roads and expand broadband in a state where almost 40 percent of rural households lack access. And we have to revitalize our failing public schools, so our communities can attract more high-paying jobs.
We need leaders who work to address these issues. As U.S. Senator, I will devote myself to solving these urgent problems and making South Carolina a more vibrant place to raise a family.
Previous Political Experience: “While at Georgetown Law School, I had the opportunity to serve my state by joining Congressman Jim Clyburn’s office. After a few years he named me executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, the first African-American to hold that position in its 200-plus year history.
As an advisor to Congressman Jim Clyburn, I was responsible for counting the votes on legislation that helped create jobs and lift up the lives of people across the state. We secured over $100 million for crucial projects in South Carolina. We also voted to end the war in Iraq, raise the minimum wage, and enact equal pay legislation.”
Top Focus Areas: “Healthcare is personal to me. My grandfather, who helped raise me, ignored leg pain for years because treatment would simply cost too much. When he finally saw a doctor, he learned the pain was from undiagnosed diabetes. But by that time, it was too late, and he lost his leg.
Decades later, that’s still the reality for far too many in South Carolina, which has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country.
We’re one of only 12 states still refusing to expand Medicaid under the law, denying over 200,000 people access to care and helping lead to the closure of four rural hospitals over the past few years.”
We need leadership who works for us, not against us. As your Senator, I will fight tirelessly to protect and expand affordable healthcare access for people in this state, in communities both big and small.”
State House of Representatives District 35
In June, Rep. Bill Chumley, the incumbent for House District 35, won the run-off Republican primary race against Chris Bennett. In the General Election, Chumley will face Democratic challenger Helen Pendarvis for the District 35 seat.
District 35 covers Spartanburg County and part of Greenville County. Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Candidates must be a resident of the district.
Current Occupation: Business owner and farmer
Where he lives: Greenpond Road in Woodruff
Why he wants to continue to represent South Carolina House District 35: “Representing our district in the House has been one of the great honors of my life. Working with other conservatives, I have been able to accomplish a great deal for our people and I have several things I am working on such as a bill to provide tax relief for struggling businesses, priority virus testing for first-responders, as well as prison reform bill that I believe we can get done next year.”
Previous Political Experience: Served four terms in the House of Representatives
Top Focus Areas: My main objective is to help folks get back on their feet after this pandemic shutdown. As fast as we can, we need to clear away the brush so businesses, employers, workers, and churches can get back to doing their jobs and making South Carolina great again.
Current Occupation: Paralegal with the law office of Kinlaw and Cunningham in Greenville and owner of Simply Love Home Care Services
Where she lives: Duncan
Why she wants to represent South Caroling House District 35: “My goal is to represent those who need a renewed interest in the South Carolina government. I will strive to tackle each issue and represent all residents. I want to bring District 35 together as one community.”
Previous Political Experience: While Pendarvis has never held a political office, she is a graduate of the 2020 class for EMERGE South Carolina (the state’s premier candidate training program for Democratic women). She is a former guardian ad litem for the 7th Judicial Circuit, and currently volunteers with the children’s ministry at Grace Cathedral Ministries.
Top Focus Areas: “We need access to resources that would enable everyone to build a life for themselves and their families, such as public transportation and equitable housing that does not box out low income families that desire home ownership. I would encourage developers with incentives to build mixed income housing. House District 35 needs to be equipped to provide for its citizens now and in the FUTURE. Currently, the district lacks quality low-income housing, public transportation, and resources to maintain consistent employment for our residents, even though we live in a flourishing manufacturing hub. With the expansion of District 35, we lack proper funding to expand water and sewer lines and well as our emergency response plans to include natural, weather and biological hazards.”
Spartanburg County Council District 4
In a run-off primary election in June, Justin McCorkle defeated incumbent Whitney Farr for the Republican seat for Spartanburg County Council District 4. This is the largest council district geographically, covering most of the southern part of the county and including the communities of Woodruff, Pacolet, Pauline, Enoree and Cross Anchor. McCorkle is running unopposed in the general election to secure his position.
Justin McCorkle – Republican
Current Occupation: Real Estate Agent and Musician
Where he lives: Pauline
Why he wants to represent Spartanburg County Council District 4: “Our district being the largest has some of the most beautiful landscapes our county has to offer. We have also seen exponential growth and business in our district. I want to work with other local government agencies to create a comprehensive plan of action to support smart growth while protecting our natural resources. I want our residents to have strong paying jobs and a great economy. Our voice is as important as any other district in the county. I want our children to have the opportunities that others have in the county and our residents to have the infrastructure we need to be relevant in the 21st century. Our roadways, Internet service, and communications for first responders need to be up to date for our residents’ safety and quality of life.”
Previous Political Experience: “None other than serving on community level committees. Frankly I am not much of a politician.”
Top Focus Areas: Jobs and economy, infrastructure and quality of life for residents