Two years ago, Mike Ryhal and Dennis DiSabato both ran to be the first person to represent Dist. 56 in the S.C. House of Representatives.
When the ballots were counted, the two Republicans were separated by 114 votes – about 1 percent – and Ryhal claimed the seat.
This year, DiSabato said he thinks he has a good chance to win in Tuesday’s primary. No Democrats filed to run for the seat.
“It was really close last time and I felt like the things the district needed still hadn’t been addressed,” DiSabato said, adding that he did not feel as though Ryhal spent enough time with his constituents in the district.
Ryhal said he’s spent the last two years working on building relationships – both in the district and the county as well as in Columbia.
“The biggest key is learning that you have to work as a team to get things done,” he Ryhal said. “You need to build relationships and work with everybody. It’s a matter of coming up here and working with people here and back in the district.”
He said the fact that he’s been able to establish those relationships is why he should be elected to another term.
But DiSabato said he believes elected officials work directly for the people they represent and would spend much of his time building relationships with his constituents.
If elected, the first thing DiSabato said he would like to do is work to lower the Conway water rate. Residents in Carolina Forest, which makes up a large portion of Dist. 56 and is where both DiSabato and Ryhal reside, receive water service from the city of Conway.
“The city of Conway water rates are excessive in Carolina Forest,” he said. Dist. 56 also includes Conway and Longs.
Ryhal and DiSabato ran against each other in the 2012 general election instead of in a Republican primary because they were among the more than 250 candidates thrown of the ballot due to filing errors.
“We rewrote election law [at the State House],” Ryhal said, saying that was something he was most proud of accomplishing in his first term. “It’s much easier to understand now.”
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the primary election.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or on Twitter @TSN_mprabhu.