Laurens County voters want alcohol on Sunday
Early returns have Sunday alcohol sales winning by more than 1,600 votes, and Laurens Congressman Jeff Duncan (R) winning re-election with more than 68% of the vote (75,553 votes).
Duncan's margin of victory in his home county, Laurens, was 66.5% to Geren (D) 32.2%. Duncan has said he will support the Trump Administration's effort to end birth-right citizenship, which is authorized in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. That amendment says any person born in the United States is a citizen of the United States (it dates to the end of the Civil War and freedom for slaves). Trump says citizenship should be denied to babies born to women who enter the United States without legal immigration.
These mid-term Congressional elections are seen as a referendum on the Trump Administration's immigration policies, tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans, and promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress during the Obama Administration. With 56% of the vote counted districtwide, Duncan has 68.29% to Geren 30.46%.
All 3 school board races in District 56 (Clinton-Joanna) were unopposed, but the District 55 (Laurens) board chair easily won re-election - Susan Calhoun-Ware got 794 votes to David Underwood's 588 in Seat 6. Seat 2 will have a new member: Cathy Little got 1,190 votes to Jim Moore 505 and Bessie Williams 180. Mark Earle won Seat 4 with 846 votes to Steve Cole with 482.
Fox News called the SC Governor's race minutes after the polls closed at 7 pm. With 48% of the votes counted statewide, current governor Henry McMaster won with 54.81% of the vote compared to Democratic challenger James Smith with 45.08%.
With 12 of 46 counties reporting their totals, voter turnout was 21.44% but likely will go higher - lines were reported at several voting places around South Carolina.
The Sunday alcohol sales, passing in Laurens County with 9,680 yes votes to 8,003 no votes, apply only to the unincorporated areas of the county, not in the towns (Laurens, Clinton, Gray Court, Fountain Inn) - to have Sunday alcohol sales, the cities would have to pass their own separate referenda. The approval means restaurants can serve beer, wine and mixed drinks on Sunday in Laurens County; stores can sell beer and wine on Sunday in Laurens County - liquor sales are governed by a different state law and ABC stores will not be allowed to open on Sunday. Supporters say this is the first step to attracting an Olive Garden or Outback - style, high-end sit-and-dine restaurant into Laurens County. Such a restaurant could open just outside the city limits of Laurens or Clinton, and would be allowed to serve alcohol on Sunday. The establishments apply for a temporary 24-hour license to sell and serve alcohol by the drink on Sunday.
A similar measure also passed in Greenwood County.
South Carolinians want to continue electing their state superintendent of education (as opposed to governor appointment) - with 48% of counties reporting, "no" to governor appointment has 60.77% compared to "yes" to governor appointment 39.23%. Current State Superintendent Molly Spearman (R), who won re-election easily when her opponent dropped out, favors the governor appointing the state superintendent of education.