Republicans uncontested for first-ever courthouse seats in Lancaster and Union Counties

While the GOP wave has swept much of the Upstate, this wave has passed several of the smaller counties, leaving local Republicans struggling to catch up with the kinds of domination their counterparts enjoy in counties like Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg and York Counties. Reaching in an arc from Lancaster to Abbeville Counties, this region has proven to a tough nut for Republicans to crack.

But this year Republicans in Lancaster and Union Counties can celebrate first-ever wins of courthouse offices as Democrats opted not to run opponents against Lancaster County Treasurer Carrie Helms and Union County Clerk of Court Freddie Gault. Both were appointed to fill vacancies and face voters for the first time this year.

Helms' appointment promoted her after the death of the previous Treasurer while Gault, a former police captain in Union, was appointed to replace the last Clerk who resigned during an investigation into mismanaged monies. Gault was the GOP nominee for Sheriff in 2004 and 2008.

While Republicans have won single-member council districts in many of these counties, or seated legislators on those counties' legislative delegations via county-crossing legislative districts, winning county-wide elected courthouse offices in these counties has proven to be a far tougher feat to accomplish. Given the strong Democratic lean of these counties, it seems even more likely that they'd run without opposition.

SCGOP Chair Chad Connelly congratulated Gault and Helms on their pending historic elections, pointing out that when "Republicans win county offices in courthouse races in traditionally strong Democratic-controlled counties like Lancaster and Union by default--it says it all--voters realize that conservative Republicans can get the job done."

Elsewhere in this rural Upstate arc, Republicans resumed control of the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office when Sheriff Tony Davis filed as a Republican without Democratic opposition. Davis defeated the county's first Republican Sheriff in 2008.

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