Senate seat in Georgetown County up for grabs

Georgetown County has a shot at gaining a second resident state senator, and thus more clout in the Statehouse, if state Rep. Carl Anderson can pull off a win in the four-way Democratic primary to replace Sen. Yancey McGill.

Anderson, of Georgetown, faces three Williamsburg County residents in the special election party primary Sept. 2. The party nominee will likely take office because no other candidates filed.

The other candidates are state Rep. Ronnie A. Sabb, 55, of Greeleyville; Cezar McKnight, 40, of Kingstree; and Sam L. Floyd, 44, of Kingstree.

The seat is open because McGill stepped aside after 26 years in office to become lieutenant governor for the rest of this year.

The sprawling, mostly rural Senate district takes in parts of five counties, including the Bucksport area of Horry and most of Georgetown, but had its population base in Williamsburg until redistricting three years ago. Now the biggest chunk of the population is in Georgetown County.

It is also a heavily Democratic district with a 55 percent black population.

Anderson, 53, said he is aware of the numbers and is already familiar with a large chunk of the district because his House district is part of it.

With those numbers, he hopes his experience of 10 years in the House, and attracting some Republicans and independents to vote for him, will give him the win.

South Carolina does not register voters by party, so any registered voter can vote in the primary.

“I’m asking everybody to vote,’’ he said.

Anderson, a pastor and insurance agent, said his experience in the House and in working with McGill in other parts of the Senate district make him the most qualified. He will also represent all the residents, he said.

“The people need somebody in Columbia who’s going to be fair to everybody,’’ he said.

His three opponents all are attorneys.

Sabb was elected to the House in District 101 in 2010. He was not available for comment on Thursday.

Floyd, a member of Williamsburg County Council, is the son of late state Sen. LaNue Floyd who fiercely represented the district from 1966 to 1976.

Floyd said he decided to seek the post “after speaking with the citizens of all five counties.’’

Like Anderson, he pledged that if elected, he would serve “all the people, Democrats and Republicans.’’

McKnight, who lives in Kingstree and practices law in Lake City, is making his second attempt. He lost to McGill two years ago by less than 100 votes. The winning votes for McGill came from Georgetown County.

But McKnight said he isn’t taking his frontrunner position from two years ago for granted.

“This is a different race from last time,’’ and the other candidates are all well known and respected, McKnight said.

He said he wants the office “so that we can have a senator who is accountable, accessible and transparent to all the citizens of District 32.’’

Anderson said the trick for all of them will be getting voters to understand there is a special election, and turning out to vote. With four candidates, a runoff is likely, and if so it would be held Sept. 16.