Melissa Oremus

Melissa Oremus

The special election for S.C. House District 84 is officially a six-way race.

Melissa Oremus, a small business owner and USC Aiken graduate, filed as a Republican Friday evening. She is the first woman to enter the field.

Candidate filing for the special election closed at noon Saturday. The state House seat is up for grabs following the May death of state Rep. Ronnie Young, a Clearwater Republican.

In a candidacy announcement, Oremus is described as a "conservative Republican advocate" who will focus on jobs and the overall health of the district, which sits between Aiken and North Augusta and runs south beyond Jackson.

"I look at the closed factories that used to be teeming with workers that I would see as I rode the bus to school versus the prosperity around our county," Oremus said in a prepared statement. "I watch all the renovations and new construction at other Aiken County high schools while my alma mater, Midland Valley High School, is overcrowded in the same building where I had classes. I have to ask, why?"

Oremus will face five competitors in the run up to the Oct. 1 special election: Alvin Padgett, Ralph Gunter, Sean Pumphrey, Danny Feagin and Cody Anderson.

The primary election is scheduled for July 30. A primary runoff – more likely than ever, given the volume of candidates – is set for Aug. 13.

No Democrats have filed for the election.

Colin Demarest is the government and Savannah River Site reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin