York County voters said yes to Sunday beer and wine sales, and returned a couple of prominent Republican incumbents to office.
Voters were asked whether there should be Sunday beer and wine sales at convenience stores and grocery stores. With 84 of 89 precincts reporting at 11:30 p.m., 65 percent said yes.
The chairman of the York County Council and a longtime state senator from York County, both Republicans, fended off petition challengers.
Petition candidates garnered considerable attention in South Carolina this year after more than 200 candidates were purged from primary ballots due to confusion over electronic filing for candidacy. They are not listed with a party.
In the District 15 state Senate race, Republican Wes Hayes survived a challenge from tea party activist Joe Thompson.
Hayes, a Rock Hill lawyer, has served in the Legislature for 27 years. He represents Tega Cay, Lake Wylie, southern Rock Hill and Fort Mill.
With 41 of 43 precincts reporting at 11:30 p.m., Hayes had almost 74 percent of the votes.
Thompson is the first opponent Hayes has faced since 1992. Thompson has led an area tea party group called the District 5 Patriots since 2010.
York County Council
York County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell batted away a challenge from petition candidate Gary Williams in the most hotly contested council race. Blackwell had almost 57 percent of the vote with 15 of 16 precincts reporting.
Williams, owner of a student loan collection agency in Rock Hill, and Blackwell, an eye doctor, clashed over leadership, economic development ideas and over their visions for York County’s museum system.
Blackwell, who will serve in the council’s District 6 seat, joins Bruce Henderson, who decisively beat John Rinehart Sr. for the District 2 seat, and William “Bump” Roddy, who won the District 4 seat over Roy Blake by a large margin.
School board races
York County’s voters were choosing members of the county’s four school boards.
The Rock Hill race was close, with Terry Hutchinson holding a narrow lead at 11:30 p.m., and three of 46 precincts left to be reported. Hutchinson, an automotive technician, cast himself as an outsider, a father with “no ties” to the district who would bring fresh eyes to the job.
Dan Ballou, who assumed the role of skeptical parent, was running a close second.
The Fort Mill board had seven candidates vying for three seats. With 19 of 21 precincts tallied, Scott Patterson, Pam Martin and Tom Audette held the lead.
In Clover, voters narrowly elected Liz Stowe Johnson to Seat 3. Johnson was appointed to the board last year to replace a board member who resigned.
In York, Chris Revels won Seat 3 over Robert “Bobby” Bostic, while Melissa Ramsey beat Austin Dawkins for Seat 5.
Observer staff writer Ann Doss Helms contributed.