Though backed by the Governor, Deedee Vaughters' campaign to unseat longtime incumbent Nikki Setzler in Senate District 26 has fallen well short.
Vaughters' Republican-backed campaign made great waves across the Palmetto State, but they could not wash Setzler out of office.
The district spans portions of Aiken, Calhoun, Lexington and Saluda counties. Redistricting last year has further extended the district that was once mostly in the Wagner-Salley area into a larger portion of Aiken County that now snakes its way into parts of downtown Aiken.
With absentee ballots outstanding, more than 60 percent of Aiken County voters had backed Setzler, who has held the seat since 1976.
Aiken resident Vaughters spoke of her sadness with the Aiken results.
“I am disappointed but feel proud of my efforts and the race I ran,” Vaughters said.
However, she did not give up hope until around 11 p.m. When, with a one-word text message, she answered the question whether she would concede.
“Yes,” she said from what was supposed to be a “Victory Party” in West Columbia.
Setzler campaigned saying he was the best candidate to create jobs, citing his efforts to bring Amazon to the Palmetto State and the 2,000-plus jobs the company has promised to move to the state by the end of next year.
As well as S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, Vaughters had several influential endorsements in her campaign, including Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and powerhouse blogger Will Folks and his site Fitsnews.com
In addition to serving in the Senate, Setzler has chaired the Senate Education Committee from 1998 until 2000. He was also a Cayce City Judge from 1974 until 1976 and has served as an attorney in Springdale and West Columbia.
Setzler is a founding partner of Setzler & Scott, P.A., is a father of four children and married to Ada Jane.
Setzler said his priority is jobs, citing his efforts to bring Amazon to the Palmetto State and the 2,000-plus jobs the company has promised to move to the state by the end of next year.
Vaughters, a University of South Carolina graduate, who is a partner in her husband's private medical practice and owner of 1-800 GOT-JUNK franchise, is the mother of three and married to Bauer.
She has been a member of the S.C. Policy Council, which she describes as being a watchdog nonprofit to pull back the curtain on politics in the legislature.