S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, and his write-in challenger, David Lobb, will participate in a public forum on Monday, Oct. 15, but they're getting a head start with some verbal sparring.

Taylor, seeking his second term as the District 86 S.C. House member, contends Lobb is a former Republican who switched sides after being rejected as the county's Republican Party chairman.

“He then publicly walked away from the local Republican Party,” Taylor said. “He now calls himself an independent but is actively working to elect a Democrat candidate.”

That's incorrect, said Lobb, who had served as vice chairman of the party before losing out for the chairmanship.

“I did not leave the party,” he said. “I just went to a reasonable part of the party, which is the (county Republican) club. The type of people in the Republican Party here don't represent what goes on at the national level. They're not mainstream Republicans. I am running as an independent and will not be beholden to Democrats or Republicans.”

Lobb has no apologies for supporting the only Democrat in a local election, longtime probate judge Sue Roe. She is qualified for the office, Lobb said, while her Republican opponent, businesswoman Jane Page Thompson, is not.

“We do need to change some outmoded rules,” Lobb said. “Most counties don't elect a probate judge.”

Taylor said he decided to run for the state legislature, “because I was throwing too many spitballs at television news.” He was alarmed at what he was seeing in government and went on to study the General Assembly and campaigned for a full year. Lobb contends that Taylor has accomplished nothing in the House, which Taylor describes as “lunacy.”

“Those who watch and grade the legislature give me the highest grade for voting to create jobs and provide a higher standard of living,” Taylor said.

A retired Army colonel, Lobb is president of the Aiken chapter of the Military Officers Association and president for legislative affairs for the Military Officers Association of South Carolina. He faces an uphill challenge as a write-in candidate but said he's confident.

“I got into this because people were telling me how extremely disappointed they are with Bill, that he had accomplished nothing,” Lobb said. “I wouldn't have entered the race unless I could see a road to victory.”

Taylor is a former television journalist, serving as a reporter, producer and anchorman. He also has served as a media adviser and was a partner in established a consulting firm. He was a consultant to the George H.W. Bush White House in 1991-92.

Taylor cited his role as the primary sponsor of the S.C. Fair Tax Act, which would create a state tax to replace state income taxes on families and businesses. He also sponsored a Freedom of Information reform measure that passed the House 100-1, but tied in the Senate.

District 86: B. Taylor, D. Lobb