Tuesday’s election brought a few surprises, upsets, and many tight races (in areas that have traditionally never been tight.) While the election results yielded a lot of red across the board courtesy of straight tickets and record turnout, Republicans ultimately gained two seats in the SC House and three in the Senate. Three incumbent Senators in hotly contested races held on to their seats:
- Senate Transportation Committee Chairman, Senator Larry Grooms (R – Berkeley) handily defeated his two opponents with 58.6% of the vote.
- Chairman of the Fish, Game, & Forestry Committee, Senator Chip Campsen (R-Charleston), defeated his Democratic opponent with 57% of the vote.
- Senator Sandy Senn (R-Charleston) narrowly defeated her Democratic opponent, with 51% of the vote.
Several tenured Democratic Senators were defeated, including Senators Floyd Nicholson (D-Greenwood), Glenn Reese (D-Spartanburg), and Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw). In the House, Representatives Mandy Powers-Norrell (D-Lancaster) and Laurie Funderburk (D-Kershaw) were defeated. We would be remiss not to acknowledge that these legislators have been allies and staunch proponents of infrastructure investment and improvements. SCFOR appreciates their leadership and efforts to make South Carolina a better state.
In total, SCFOR followed 59 races in the SC House and 31 in the SC Senate. Results of these races can be tracked here. A look at the new faces that will be joining the SC House and Senate is detailed below.
“21 in 2021” Meet the New Members of the SC Legislature
The SC Senate will welcome 6 new members in the 2021 legislative session.
Billy Garrett (R) Dist. 10 – Greenwood
Republican candidate Billy Garrett has unseated Senator Floyd Nicholson (D). Garrett received 55.96% of the vote, flipping the seat Nicholson has held for 12 years.
Garrett is an attorney and founder of the Greenwood Mediation Center.
Josh Kimbrell (R) Dist. 11 – Spartanburg
Republican candidate Josh Kimbrell unseated Democrat Senator Glenn Reese. Kimbrell received 55.35% of the vote, flipping the seat that Reese has held since 1991.
Kimbrell is CEO at Exodus Aircraft and vice president/commercial loan officer at CresCom Bank. He has been a conservative radio talk show host for the last decade and is a political analyst on Fox News.
Michael Johnson (R) Dist. 16 – York
Johnson defeated Democrat opponent Ram Mammadov, receiving 63% of the vote. This seat was held by Senator Greg Gregory (R), who retired this year.
Johnson is an attorney with Michael Johnson & Associates in Fort Mill, SC. He was elected to the York County Council in 2012 and currently serves as the Chair.
Penry Gustafson (R) Dist. 27 – Kershaw
Republican candidate Penry Gustafson defeated incumbent Senator Vincent Sheheen (D) with 51% of the vote.
Gustafson is a community advocate and a former sales representative for a chemical company.
Vernon Stephens (D) Dist. 39 – Orangeburg
Stephens defeated Republican Tom Connor, with 56% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Senator John Matthews (D), who retired this year.
Stephens currently serves as Chairman of the Orangeburg 5 School Board and is retired from retired Federal Mogul Friction Products.
Brian Adams (R) Dist. 44 – Berkeley
Adams defeated Democrat Debbie Bryant, with 57% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Senator Paul Campbell (R), who retired this year.
Adams is a retired North Charleston Police Officer.
The SC House of Representatives will welcome 15 new members in the 2021 legislative session.
Jerry Carter (R) Dist. 3 – Pickens
Carter defeated his Democratic opponent, Eunice Lehmacher, with 65% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Gary Clary (R), who retired this year.
Carter is the retired Director of Corporate Affairs for the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
Travis Moore (R) Dist. 33 – Spartanburg
Moore faced Constitution candidate Thomas Riddle and won easily with 88% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Eddie Tallon (R), who retired this year. Moore is an attorney with Anderson Moore, LLC in Spartanburg, SC.
Roger Nutt (R) Dist. 34 – Spartanburg
Nutt was the only person to file to fill the seat of Rep. Mike Forrester (R), who retired this year. Nutt did not face opposition on Tuesday.
Nutt is a licensed Professional Engineer in the States of South Carolina and Georgia. He currently serves on several Boards and Committees, including SPATS and the Spartanburg CTC Advisory Committee.
Sandy McGarry (R) Dist. 44 – Lancaster
Republican candidate Sandy McGarry defeated incumbent Rep. Mandy Powers-Norrell (D). McGarry received 55% of the vote, flipping the seat that has been held by Norrell since 2013.
McGarry is the Chairwoman of the Lancaster County Republican Party.
Vic Dabney (R) Dist. 52 – Kershaw
Republican candidate Vic Dabney defeated incumbent Rep. Laurie Funderburk (D). Dabney received 51% of the vote, flipping the seat Funderburk has held since 2004.
Dabney is a career soldier, Apache attack helicopter pilot, and instructor.
Kim Johnson (D) Dist. 64 – Clarendon
Johnson defeated Republican candidate Cindy Risher, with 54% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Robert Ridgeway (D), who retired this year.
Johnson is Director of Community Engagement with HopeHealth in Manning, SC.
Jermaine Johnson (D) Dist. 80 – Richland
Johnson defeated incumbent Rep. Jimmy Bales in the Democratic primary. He defeated Republican candidate Vincent Wilson on Tuesday with 60% of the vote.
Johnson is the founder of Dream Team Consulting, an organizational development firm in Columbia, SC.
RJ May (R) Dist. 88 – Lexington
May won the Republican primary run-off in June to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Mac Toole (R). He did not face opposition on Tuesday.
May is the founder of Ivory Tusk Consulting, a Lexington County-based agency that assists conservative candidates in becoming public servants.
Gil Gatch (R) Dist. 94 – Dorchester
Gatch defeated his Democratic opponent, Patricia Cannon, on Tuesday, with 63% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Con Chellis (R).
Gatch is an attorney with Gil Gatch Law, LLC, in Summerville, SC.
Ryan McCabe (R) Dist. 96 – Lexington
McCabe defeated incumbent Rep. Kit Spires in the Republican primary. McCabe did not face opposition on Tuesday.
McCabe is an attorney with McCabe, Trotter, & Beverly in Columbia, SC, which specializes in community association and construction law.
Mark Smith (R) Dist. 99 – Charleston
Smith defeated Democrat Jen Gibson, with 64% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Nancy Mace (R).
Mark is the Owner and President of McAlister-Smith Funeral Homes, Avinger Funeral Home, and the Palmetto Cremation Society.
Case Brittain (R) Dist. 107 – Horry
Brittain faced two opponents on Tuesday, Democrat Tony Cahill and Libertarian William Dettmering III. Brittain received 70% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Alan Clemmons (R), who resigned from the House in August.
Brittain is an attorney with the Brittain law firm in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Deon Tedder (D) Dist. 109 – Charleston
Tedder defeated Libertarian Rodney Travis in Tuesday’s election and easily won with 80% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. David Mack (D), who retired this year.
Tedder is an attorney with the David Aylor Law Offices. His main area of practice is personal injury and criminal defense.
Joe Bustos (R) Dist. 112 – Charleston
Bustos defeated Democrat Daniel Brownstein in Tuesday’s election, with 57% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Mike Sottile (R), who retired this year.
Bustos is a retired US Army officer, former police officer and town councilman for Mount Pleasant.
Chardale Murray (D) Dist. 116 – Charleston
Murray defeated Republican Carroll O’Neal on Tuesday, with 50.7% of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Robert Brown (D), who retired this year.
Murray is the Owner of Murray’s Mortuary in Hollywood, SC.
*Based on unofficial results from the SC Election Commission 11/4/2020.
**Candidate photo sources are campaign websites/social media pages.