Incumbents rule election

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Staff Writer

Barnwell County went blue Nov. 6, re-electing a number of incumbents in local and national races.
Democratic state representatives Bakari Sellers and Lonnie Hosey won re-election in Barnwell County's only two contested local races.
Hosey, the Democratic incumbent, defeated Republican challenger Ben Kinlaw to keep the District 91 seat he's held for 13 years. Hosey won all three counties - Barnwell, Allendale and Orangeburg - for a total of 67 percent (10,563) to Kinlaw's 33 percent (5,191).
"My record (of trust and honesty) has spoken for me," said Hosey of his re-election. "People are serious about their well being."
He said he will continue to work for his constituents by focusing on education, job creation and job training so people can contribute to society.
In District 90, Sellers had to wait late into the evening before he knew his fate. After Barnwell and Colleton counties reported their results, the Democrat was losing to Republican Dan Lawrence. While Sellers lost both Barnwell and Colleton counties, he was saved with a 73 percent (4,931) majority from his native Bamberg County later in the night. He won the overall election 55 percent (8,301) to Lawrence's 45 percent (6,721).
Voters turned out in strong numbers across Barnwell County and the state, though not quite as much as in the 2008 general election. Of the 14,115 registered voters in the county, 71 percent (10,002)turned out Nov. 6, compared to 77 percent (9,825) of the 12,697 registered voters in 2008. South Carolina as a whole dropped from 76 percent turnout in 2008 to 69 percent this year, according to www.scvotes.org.
Attempts to reach Sellers for comment were unsuccessful as of press time.
Barnwell County voters overwhelmingly elected a number of candidates in non-contested races, mostly incumbents. Winners included: Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll (5,863), Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward (5,774), Barnwell County Clerk of Court Rhonda McElveen (7,690), U.S. House of Representatives District 2 Joe Wilson (5,485), S.C. Senator Brad Hutto (7,069) for District 40, Second Circuit Solicitor Strom Thurmond (5,590), Barnwell County Councilman District 1 Freddie Houston (1,307), District 3 Keith Sloan (1,012), District 5 Joe Smith (725), District 7 Jerry Creech (1,071) and Soil and Water District Commissioner Tommy Sanders (4,183).
In the race for president, Barnwell County backed President Barack Obama for another term, going against the state's Republican pick of Mitt Romney. While South Carolina as a whole sent their nine electoral votes to Romney, Barnwell County picked Obama with 52 percent (5,188) of the vote compared to 48 percent (4,659) for Romney. Obama went on to win a second term after all the votes were tallied nationwide.
Weighing in on Obama's re-election, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley congratulated the president on his successful run, though it wasn't the outcome she wanted. "Although South Carolina cast a majority of its votes in the other direction, our country has spoken. As Americans, we must respect this outcome, and, as governor, I will work together with President Obama wherever I can for the betterment of our state and country," said Haley in a press release.
Naomi DeFrenn, the director of the Barnwell County Voter Registration and Elections office, thanked everyone who voted. "It's really good to know people were exercising their right to vote," said DeFrenn. "We work hard to bring these elections to people."
View more statistics about the election at www.scvotes.org.