For nearly five years, Stewart Jones and Garrett McDaniel have worked together on the Laurens County Council.
Now, they’ll square off for a seat in Columbia. On Tuesday, the 35-year-old Jones, a Republican, and Democrat McDaniel, 31, won primary elections in the race to succeed retired state Rep. Mike Pitts.
The general election is April 23.
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jones had 51.59 percent of the Republican vote — just enough to avoid a runoff. His 1,247 votes more than doubled second-place finisher Michael Seymour, who had 602 votes.
Meanwhile, McDaniel coasted past challenger Bobby Gregory Sr. of Ware Shoals, securing 92.04 percent — or 451 — of the 460 votes made in his race.
“It’s nice to be able to take some of this momentum into April,” McDaniel said. “I just want voters to educate themselves, because you’ve got two very different candidates running now, and I want to make sure people put their partisanship to the side and actually vote for the person.”
Jones, who also defeated Grant Blair of Greenwood and Ware Shoals resident Scott Horne, credited his opponents with better preparing him for the next phase of his campaign.
“There were some very good points that all the candidate made, and so I tried to learn from everybody that was running,” Jones said. “I’m going to be running on the same principles that I fought for on County Council: Fighting to make government more accountable and transparent to the people I represent.”
In a text message Tuesday, Blair congratulated Jones on his victory. Horne and Seymour could not be reached for comment. Attempts to contact Gregory Sr. were also unsuccessful.
House District 14 is spread across seven precincts within the Greenwood County: Coronaca 016, Coronaca, 17, Riley 031, Stonewood 034, Lower Lake 036, Rutherford Shoals 040 and Graham’s Glen 050. It also covers the southern and western portions of Laurens County, including Cross Hill, Mountville, Waterloo and most of the city of Laurens.
Preliminary results on Tuesday were counted with 31 out of 32 precincts reported. Lynne West, Laurens County’s director of voter registration and elections, said a glitch prevented a handful of ballots from being counted on Tuesday night.
“Barksdale-Narnie precinct has not yet reported, as a voting machine is out of order and will need to be accessed tomorrow with help from the manufacturer,” West said. “Barksdale-Narnie precinct has 11 eligible voters in the entire precinct. Seven voters cast ballots.”
Jones is a member of the Laurens County Council and a self-described “Constitutional conservative.” Jones runs Greenwood IT LLC, is a former chairman of the Laurens Republican Liberty Caucus and is active in the county’s Tea Party and Republican Party. Jones has promoted his track record of government transparency and insight into municipal leadership as advantages over his opponents.
McDaniel, of Laurens, is a 2009 graduate of South Carolina State University. He has a master’s degree in transportation planning from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and has represented Laurens County Council’s District 3 since 2015. McDaniel is a proponent of state Medicaid expansion and wants to see teachers receive better pay.