Democrat efforts to hold Dick Elliot seat flaming out

Since the 1991 redistricting shifted the bulk of State Senate District 28 to Horry County, retiring Democratic Senator Dick Elliot was able to fend off a string of strong Republican challenges. But it looks like Elliot's departure will likely ensure the GOP takeover of the last Horry County-based legislative seat left in Democratic hands.

Once Elliot announced that he would not seek re-election this year, Republicans recruited Solicitor Greg Hembree to run for the seat while Democrats recruited Butch Johnson, a local businessman who lost past bids for Probate Judge and the State House.

It appears that Hembree has waged a far more aggressive campaign for the seat than Johnson and is well-positioned to flip the seat to the GOP. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, Butch Johnson reported raising a total of $1294.90 and had a mere $1.50 on hand to face Hembree, who reported raising $36,073.05 and had $21,835.75 on hand.

Everyone we've talked with expect Hembree to score a solid win in a couple of weeks, reporting that Hembree has waged an aggressive campaign and built a solid base of support while Johnson has done little campaigning, mostly in the rural Democratic-leaning areas of the district.

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