Republican Richard Carson won the Tuesday special election for the Calhoun County Council District 1 seat in a 248-119 victory over his opponent, Democrat Ronald Johnson. 

Carson is a lifelong Calhoun County resident and won the Republican nomination for the seat after winning the special Republican primary election held May 17. He has not previously held a political office, but has been active in many local community organizations and served on various boards.

“I would like to thank all the citizens of District One of Calhoun County for their support,” Carson said. “I plan to work for and listen to the concerns of all citizens of our community and county. I look forward to working with other members of County Council and citizens to promote growth and retain a great place to rear a family and preserve our rural lifestyle.” 

Carson has previously stated he wants to focus on supporting Calhoun County’s public services and preserve the county’s rural lifestyle in the face of growth from the Columbia and Charleston areas. Carson said he will “embrace” and promote “sustainable” growth in the community’s future.

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Carson is a Clemson University graduate who retired after working more than 33 years with the Food Lion Distribution Center in Elloree. He has been married to his wife, Tina, for 26 years, and they are the parents of two sons, Hunter and Kyle.

Johnson was the only Democrat to seek the District 1 seat. Also a lifelong Calhoun County resident, Johnson is a retired deputy sheriff of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.

Johnson congratulated Carson, thanked the community for its support and said he plans on running again in 2024.

“We didn’t win, but I will still be here to support the community,” Johnson said. “I will continue to advocate for District One.”

Polls were open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at locations in Cameron, Creston, Lone Star, Midway and St. Matthews. 

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The District 1 seat was left vacant after longtime Council Chairman David Summers decided not to run for re-election last January. Summers, who had led county council for four decades, passed away on Feb. 26, at age 81. Councilman James Haigler was unanimously named chairman in the interim. $5 for the first 20 weeks

Carson will take office immediately and is expected to be sworn in at the next county council meeting, according to Shayla Jenkins, Calhoun County director of voter registration. Carson will hold the position until the November 2024 general election. 

Caleb Bozard is a news intern at The Times and Democrat through the sponsorship of the South Carolina Press Association Foundation. He is a student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

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