The Debate, District 84 (copy)

The candidates running for S.C. House District 84 – all of them Republican – participated in a recent political forum in Warrenville. Pictured, from left, are candidates Melissa Oremus; Cody Anderson; Alvin Padgett; Ralph Gunter; Sean Pumphrey, who has since dropped out of the race; and Danny Feagin.

Today is an important day for Aiken County.

It’s election day for those who live in the area designated as District 84 of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

District 84 is home to 36,703 residents and is entirely within Aiken County. It encompasses the greater Graniteville-Vaucluse-Warrenville-Valley area, Beech Island, Jackson and parts of North Augusta, including everything east of U.S. 25 (north of I-20) and the Palmetto Parkway, according to the S.C. House website.

Five people are seeking this seat left vacant by the untimely passing of state Rep. Ronnie Young, a Republican from Clearwater.

Unless today’s election results warrant a runoff on Tuesday, Aug. 13, the winner of today’s primary race will be on the special election ballot Tuesday, Oct. 1. Without an opposing write-in candidate on Oct. 1, it’s a small leap to assume that the winner of today’s election will be Rep. Ronnie Young’s successor.

Since the May 27 article announcing the dates of the special election, the Aiken Standard has printed 15 additional stories about this race. Candidate filings, a political forum, a withdrawal and a Q & A roundup with the candidates are among the information we gathered for readers over the last nine weeks.

In our community, the Aiken Standard covers all local races because newspaper readers are often the largest segment of voters and campaign donors in a geographic area. A Poynter study said that, of those who always vote in local elections, 52% follow local news closely.

There are plenty of interesting personalities within the District 84 Republican field, including intriguing back and forth discourse regarding who’s more conservative or who’s most likely to stop immigration from the statehouse (answer: none).

District 84 deserves a great representative; it was a rough few years for this growing area before Rep. Young took the reins. The district’s disappointment of former Rep. Chris Corley’s indictment, subsequent suspension and resignation was followed too quickly by the grief and deep loss of much-adored Rep. Ronnie Young.

Today is a good day to choose one of your own.

We won’t endorse a candidate, but we will endorse voting.

Get out and vote. Rock the vote. Use your voice. Every vote counts. Your voice, your vote. Use your vote.

If you need more information on registering to vote or help determining your voting districts, go to www.scvotes.org.