Two men will be running for the Democratic seat in the Sumter County Council District 3 race after the original candidate, Ronnie Eldridge, died of a heart attack on Aug. 27.
The primary for the Democratic nomination will be on Sept. 29. Anyone who lives in the district can vote in the primary, according to Pat Jefferson, director of Sumter County Voter Registration and Elections. Jefferson said polls for seven precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and they will certify the race on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m. To find out what district you live in, go to www.scvotes.org. For information on results and precinct locations, go to www.theitem.com/election2020.
The winner of the primary will run against incumbent Councilman Jimmy Byrd Jr. in November.
William "Billy" Aycock Jr.
Aycock, 46, is a life-long resident of Sumter County. He grew up in District 3 on Huntington Court until he moved to Nazarene Church Road around the age of 10.
After graduating from Furman High School off Bethel Church Road, Aycock attended USC Sumter and Central Carolina Technical College.
In 2002, Aycock received his Residential Contractors license and founded Aycock Construction LLC and has built homes in Sumter, Clarendon, Kershaw, Georgetown and Horry counties. He is also a licensed Realtor, home inspector, residential and general contractor.
Through his involvement in home building, Aycock has served two terms as president of the Sumter and Clarendon County Home Builders Association. He has also served on the Planning Commission Board of Appeals for two years.
He has also donated and has been involved with several charities and fundraisers such as MDA, Habitat for Humanity, sponsoring families for Christmas and sponsoring a child in Uganda for several years.
"Over the years in running my companies, I have honed my leadership abilities, which has resulted in putting together great teams and built business relationships throughout Sumter County and beyond," Aycock said. "There is always a good fit for an individual's talents, and being able to recognize what they are has helped me put key people in needed areas for a great outcome."
Aycock said he feels that everyone who has a desire to serve his or her community should be able to in one form or another, and he would like to do his part for Sumter County.
"I would like to introduce quarterly meetings throughout my district at each of the four local schools to hear what people's concerns are in their neighborhoods," Aycock said. "Many feel like they are not heard and they don't have a way for their voices to reach those who they elected to serve them."
He said he'd also like to see teachers receive a much-needed raise, especially after the coronavirus pandemic.
"Surely one thing we all should see through our COVID experiences is that our teachers have a tough job, and many go unappreciated for their daily efforts. They not only teach our children, but help shape them into becoming productive adults," Aycock said. "In serving our districts, we must all remember that we are representing the people who put their faith in us to express their needs as a whole."
For the past seven years, he's lived on Heather Court and is married with four children and one granddaughter.
Johnson, a native of Pinewood and lifelong resident of Sumter County, wants to run for the District 3 seat in hopes of focusing on the development and growth of his district and its residents.
Johnson is the son of John and Carolyn Johnson. He graduated from Lakewood High School and went on to graduate from the University of South Carolina in 2006.
Johnson works as an operations manager at Global Monument Co., a family business that has served Sumter and its surrounding area for nearly 23 years.
"In 2018, I ran for the Area 3 seat of the Sumter County school board," Johnson said. "I tallied the second-highest number of votes in that race."
Johnson said he thinks he's fit for the District 3 seat because of his leadership skills he practices every day on a personal, professional and social level.
He said he's been heavily involved in the community throughout the years as a community organizer by helping conduct back-to-school drives, revitalization projects and charitable functions in addition to contributing resources to countless events and organized efforts.
He has also been the vice chairman of the Board of Directors for Ragin Preparatory Christian Academy since 2019 and founded WERK CITY, a nonprofit that focuses on changing negative perceptions throughout the community by providing outreach and opportunity.
"I am a best fit for the Sumter County Council because I am focused on the development of District 3 and the growth of its citizens," Johnson said. "Many people within this district have been underserved for several years, and I want to do everything that I can to ensure social equity and inclusion."
He said he wants to ensure all of Sumter County has the resources and opportunities to grow and prosper in the near future.
"I understand the diversity within the district, but more importantly, I know the people of this district," Johnson said. "I will voice their concerns and serve as an advocate for this district."
He lives in the Lakewood Links community and is married to Joice Johnson, whom he has two daughters with, Jordan and Jayden.
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