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.