Johnson holds steady to keep District 36 state Senate seat; other Clarendon seats near primary end


State Sen. Kevin Johnson, D-Manning, easily won the Democratic primary race for District 36 in the state Senate on Tuesday night. According to unofficial results, Johnson earned 75.9% of the vote, or 9,138 votes. Challenger Eleazer Carter took 24.1%, or 2,902 primary votes.

In the Nov. 3 general election, Johnson will face Republican Leon Winn in his bid for his third term in the Senate seat.

“I am very thankful,” Johnson said. “This was a hard-fought campaign, although the numbers don’t show that, because of the tactics of my opponent and his supporters. I thank God and give praise to God. I had so much help, also. We had a great team in all of my counties, and they worked real hard, and the hard work paid off.”

District 36 covers all of Clarendon County, the eastern half of Sumter County, including downtown, and parts of Darlington and Florence counties.

Johnson, Risher win party primaries for state House District 64 seat

Also in Clarendon County, Johnson’s daughter, Kimberly O. Johnson, won the Democratic primary for District 64 in the state House of Representatives.

The open House seat, for which Rep. Robert Ridgeway, D-Manning, did not run for re-election, featured primaries for both parties.

According to unofficial results Wednesday, Johnson had 56.2% of the vote, or 3,249 votes.  Jack Furse had 28.0% of the vote, or 1,619 primary votes; while, Robert A McFadden Sr. came in third with 15.7% of the vote, or 909 votes. 

Complete absentee ballot totals for all of Clarendon's races were not posted online to until Wednesday about 5 p.m. due  to report printing difficulties. Shirley Black-Oliver, director of voter registration and elections for Clarendon County, told The Sumter Item that results didn't change any from Tuesday night's unofficial counts that were released. 

Johnson said Wednesday that it felt great to win. 

“It’s the end result and culmination of a hard-working team’s efforts,” she said. “I told my supporters from Day One that we are in this together: My victory is going to be our victory, and it’s been just that."

A Manning resident,  Johnson said she plans to take a short break now and then will be ready for the general election in November. 

Johnson is the director of community engagement with Florence-based Hope Health, formerly Black River Health Care. She is also in her second term on Clarendon School District 2 Board of Trustees and is the current chairwoman of the board. If she were to win the November general election, she would be required to give up that seat on the board, she said. 

Johnson will face Cindy Risher, a Summerton resident, in November.

Risher won her Republic primary with 73.9% of the vote, or 1,048 votes, on Tuesday night. Hal Cercopely received 26.1% or 370 primary votes.

“I am just overwhelmed right now and very humbled with the voters’ support,” Risher said. “I look forward to serving, should I win the general election in November.”

Risher has lived in Summerton since 2006 when she and her husband relocated to the Lake Marion area. She's in her second term on the Summerton-based Clarendon School District 1 Board of Trustees. Risher would also vacate that board seat if she won in November. 

Clarendon County likely to see new coroner

While one Sumter councilman is headed to a runoff, it appears Clarendon County Coroner Bucky Mock may be the only tri-county incumbent to outright lose Tuesday night.

Mock received only 39.09% of the vote, or 1,064 votes, on Tuesday, without absentee ballots being announced, while challenger Jacqueline Blackwell earned 60.91% of the vote, or 1,658 votes.

For more election coverage the impacts Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties, go to