Voters re-elect Reps Erickson, Rivers; put familiar face, newcomer on Beaufort City Council
By Mike McCombs
Another Election Day has come and gone, this one seeing more than 72,000 Beaufort County voters cast their ballots. Let’s take a look at what voters had to say in the Northern Beaufort County races.
State House of Representatives, District 124
Voters angry over Roe v. Wade being overturned may have made their mark in this election across the country, but it didn’t happen in this race.
Two years ago, Republican incumbent Shannon Erickson handed Democrat Barb Nash a nearly 27-point loss. It was essentially a repeat on Tuesday as Erickson won by more than 25 percentage points.
This will be the eighth term for Erickson, the Chair of the S.C. General Assembly Republican Women’s Caucus.
“Work hard every day!” Erickson texted The Island News from the Beaufort County Election Watch Party late Tuesday night at Bricks on Boundary Street. “Very thankful for the community support.”
State House of Representatives, District 121
Much like Erickson’s win over Nash in the District 124 race, incumbent Democrat Michael Rivers repeated a 2020 win over repeat Republican challenger Eric Erickson, the principal attorney at Beaufort’s Erickson Law Firm, public defender and former special prosecutor for the S.C. Attorney General’s office.
Rivers win was by 17 percentage points this time, instead of 27, but nonetheless, he’s headed to his fourth term in the S.C. House, where he is a member of the House Legislative Oversight Committee, as well as the Education and Public Works Committee.
Beaufort City Council
First the familiar face.
Mike McFee has served 14 years as City Councilman for the City of Beaufort. And barring the unexpected, he’ll serve two more.
McFee, a business and realtor who has spent the last eight years as Mayor Pro Tempore, was the top vote-getter among the five candidates vying for two open Council seats with 2,122 votes.
Now for the newcomer.
The second Council seat goes to Josh Scallate, who edged out third-place Josh Gibson by 23 votes (1,366-1,343). It is possible – though improbable – this could change when provisional ballots are counted Friday.
Scallate, 31, a native of Beaufort and a 2009 graduate of Beaufort High School, is a lieutenant with the Lady’s Island St. Helena Fire District, where he has worked since 2013. In 2018, he was named Firefighter of the Year.
At 22, Scallate lost his brother to a drug overdose and has since committed to public service.
“Throughout the course of this campaign, I’ve had good support,” Scallate said Tuesday night from Shellring Ale Works in Port Royal. “I was born here, raised here, and the last nine years, I’ve worked as a public servant here. That may have helped my relationship with the voters, but ultimately, it was up to the citizens.
“So this feels good. They’ve given me the chance to represent them, and I appreciate it.”
Scallate said, to understand what people want for the future of Beaufort is the next task at hand.
“I’m excited to hear what the community wants me bring the to council,” he said. “My goal is to represent them with accuracy.”
Wilma Holman (832 votes) and Michael Andersen (760) were fourth and fifth.
Beaufort County Council District 2
Two newcomers to Beaufort County politics – Republican David Bartholomew and Democrat Marilyn Harris – ran a classy campaign. It didn’t help Harris as Bartholomew won the battle for Paul Sommerville’s old seat easily, by about 25 percentage points (62.36 to 37.61).
Each credited the other with wanting to improve Beaufort County, but Bartholomew will get the chance. It would also be a surprise if this is the last we hear of Harris.
“Thank you to all the amazing people who showed up and worked hard for me. I am humbled and grateful for each and every one of you,” Harris posted on her Facebook page. “I congratulate David Bartholomew on tonight’s win for Beaufort County Council District 2.”
Beaufort County School Board District 2
Terry Thomas, a retired Beaufort County educator and coach, edged out Chloe Gordon, a retired Beaufort County school administrator by just four votes. It is once again possible – though unlikely – this could change when provisional ballots are counted Friday.
Beaufort County School Board District 5
There were 541 votes cast in this race where no one was on the ballot.
The current District 5 representative – Richard Geier – was moved into District 4 when the county redrew the boundaries for both the county and school districts following the results of the 2020 census.
U.S. Navy veteran Gwyneth J. Saunders ran as an organized write-in candidate. Write-in votes will be counted Friday.
Fripp Island Public Service District Commissioner
Four candidates were in the running for two seats. Mike Murphy was the clear No. 1 with 352 votes, and it looks like Mike Wilt is No. 2 with 203 votes.
However, No. 3 is John L. Newman tallied 202 votes, just one fewer than Wilt. It is once again possible – though unlikely – this could change when provisional ballots are counted Friday.
Gary M. Nizzi was fourth with 87 votes.
And don’t forget …
Here’s a list of the local election winners who were running unopposed:
Sheriff P.J. Tanner
Probate Judge Heather Galvin
Auditor David Cadd
Treasurer Maria Wells
Beaufort County Council District 4 Alice Howard
Beaufort County School Board District 3 William Smith
Beaufort County School Board District 4 Richard Geier
Vote totals for Beaufort County and the entire state can be found at SCVotes.gov.
Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.