Primary Day Candidate Profiles
A look at those candidates in races today.
Voting begins this morning at 7 a.m. For information on where to vote visit our list of precincts in Greenville County.
Below is a capsule look at the candidates who have opposition in the primary.
Senate District 7 - Democratic
District 7 has traditionally been a Democratic district and its seat became open after its longtime occupant Ralph Anderson announced his retirement. District in the Mauldin area is comprised mostly of the town to the east of Main Street/Route 276. The winner of the Democratic primary between Lillian Brock-Flemming and Karl Allen will match up against Jane Kizer, a Republican who is running unopposed.
Allen is a Greenville-based attorney who has represented District 25 in the State House since 2000. He is a trial lawyer whose most notable case might be one that freed a suspect from Death Row after being wrongly convicted. Allen has received the endorsement of Anderson, District 7’s previous representative.
Read more about Karl Allen at his campaign website.
Brock-Flemming has a lengthy history of public service. She was a math teacher for 23 years and has been on the Greenville City Council for 32 years. She served on the Board of Trustees at Furman University for six years and each year a minority student at the school is given an award in Brock-FLemming’s honor. She works a recruiter for Greenville County Schools. She and her husband have ten children.
Read more about Lillian Brock-Flemming at her campaign website.
Senate District 8 - Republican
The race for the District 8 Senate seat has been one of the most hotly contested and most talked-about in the state. Four challengers are looking to unseat, David Thomas, the incumbent. District 8 includes Simpsonville, Fountain Inn and the area of Mauldin to the west of Main Street/Route 276.
The candidates have raised over $400,000 in pursuit of the seat. In the event one candidate does not receive 50 percent of the vote plus one, there will be a run-off between the top two finishers on June 26. Whoever emerges from the GOP primary will face Jeff Dishner, the Democratic choice.
David Thomas (Incumbent)
Thomas is one of the longest-serving members of the Senate, having represented District 8 since 1984. While on the campaign trail, Thomas emphasized the importance of seniority in the Senate, where membership in committees is based on tenure. With 28 years under his belt, Thomas is now the Chairman of the Banking and Finance Committee, a group with significant input into the state’s finances. Since the campaign started, Thomas has also reminded voters that he is the only representative in the Senate or in the Cabinet from the Upstate and should he be defeated the region would lose an important advocate.
One of the reasons Thomas has attracted so much opposition is because of a general feeling that he is vulnerable. That vulnerability stems from a report in the fall that implied that Thomas passed legislation that allowed him to collect his pension while still serving in the Senate. Thomas, an attorney, attempted to explain the situation to voters in March via a letter to constituents. Today will determine whether voters found the explanation satisfactory.
Read more about David Thomas at his campaign website.
Chad Groover is something of a newcomer to the political scene in Greenville County, but he is far from a neophyte.
An attorney who calls Mauldin home, Groover served as counsel on the Judiciary Committee on the staff of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. Later, he was appointed a US Attorney in Iowa for the Bush Administration.
Groover went to school locally, attending Bob Jones University. While campaigning for the last three months in District 8, Groover has emphasized his experience keeping neighborhoods safe and his strong record on crime, while also citing the importance of character in public service, a trait he says is severely lacking in Columbia.
Read more about Chad Groover at his campaign website.
Lee was the first candidate to declare his interest in the District 8 seat, announcing his intention to run in March of 2011. Lee entered the political scene during the previous election cycle as part of the first wave of Tea Party candidates. He ran against Bob Ingles, Trey Gowdy and Sen. David Thomas in the race to represent the Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Lee finished third, ahead of Thomas.
Lee’s approach to his campaign has been in line with his career as a business and technology consultant and that is a common sense strategy to problem-solving.
Lee has also been a school board member and a college instructor. Last month, he turned back an attempt to remove him from the ballot based on a residency violation, an attempt he said was “politically motivated.”
Read more about Jim Lee at his campaign website.
Swann is perhaps the most well-known candidate in the race besides Thomas. He has been a business leader in the Upstate for decades and also serves on the Board of Trustees at Clemson University. While campaigning, Swann’s main point of emphasis has been the relationship between education and business. Swann has noted that employers are reluctant to relocate or expand where the workforce is not skilled, which he thinks is the main reason why South Carolina’s unemployment rate is high. To help improve technical education, Swann has pledged to donate his Senate salary of $10,400 toward a scholarship fund should he be elected.
Read more about Joe Swann at his campaign website.
Turner has been an insurance agent for the past 26 years and was born and raised in Greenville. He has strong ties to the business, religious and educational communities in addition to being known as a devoted family man. His signature issue during the campaign has been to lighten the tax load on small businesses and to eventually eliminate the income tax.
Read more about Ross Turner at his campaign website.
Congressional Seat 4 - Democratic
The winner of the Democratic seat for the 4th Congrssional District will have the unenviable task of challenging an extremely popular and well-heeled incumbent in Republican Trey Gowdy.
Patch profiled Deb Morrow when she announced her candidacy in February.
Read more about Deb Morrow at her campaign website.
Patch profiled Jimmy Tobias when he announced his candidacy in March.
Read more about Jimmy Tobias at his campaign website.