District 42 election: Do you know who you're voting for?
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Decision day for the SC Senate District 42 special election is fast approaching. On Tuesday, voters from parts of Charleston, North Charleston, and Dorchester County will head to the polls to cast their vote.
The seat was left open after former Senator Robert Ford resigned in May amid an ethics investigation into his campaign finances. The three candidates vying for the spot are Democrat Marlon Kimpson, Republican Billy Shuman, and Libertarian Alex Thornton.
Kimpson faced off with Maurice Washington in a heated primary election in August.
All three candidates stopped by Good Morning Charleston for one-on-one interviews the day before the election.
Kimpson: Keeps On Healthcare Message
Marlon Kimpson, an attorney and banker, says he got some good practice honing his campaign message to his voters during the primary race against Maurice Washington in August and says he is very clear about what he stand for.
"This race is really about saving public education, about making sure that people have healthcare," Marlon Kimpson said.
Kimpson said the reason he chose to run is simple.
"I'm running because of my daughter, Marleigh," he said. "I am a product of public school and I want my daughter to go to public school and Marleigh will have healthcare but there are over 320 thousand people in this state-- many as district 42 residents-- that do not have healthcare and it's a fundamental difference between me and my opponents with respect to healthcare for all."
Kimpson said he supports President Obama's Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid. Registration for the Affordable Care Act starts on Election Day, October 1st.
Kimpson addressed the rumors of whether or not he paid State Representative Wendall Gaillard to endorse him saying, "No such thing nothing could be farther from the truth."
"He is a consultant to my campaign I have many consultants to my campaign. I have timely filed my ethical report. The issue of transparency is very clear."
The Democratic candidate said he has the roll-up the sleeves kind of experience to be a great leader for District 42.
Thornton: Libertarian Political Newbie
Alex Thornton of West Ashley is the sole female in the special election race for the state senate seat. Thornton is a professional photographer living in West Ashley and is venturing into politics for the first time after always having an interest.
"I want to see our country head in a better direction," Alex Thornton said. "When the opportunity presented itself I felt like I had no choice -- this is what I always wanted to do might as well start early and start now."
As a Libertarian, Thornton said she is all about more freedom, less government, and increase of personal liberties for all.
"As a small business owner I see the effects of over taxation and over reaching government and that's why if I'm elected I will fight to end the state income tax that will save the average South Carolinian about 2 thousand dollars per year -- that's a lot of money to me," Thornton said.
Thornton is proud of being part of the Libertarian party and says the problem with the two main political parties is that they always push for bigger government.
Shuman: Door-knocking Republican
Republican candidate Billy Shuman said since day 1 of the campaign he has been all about the people and has knocked on 3,000 doors in his district.
"My platform is just serving the people of District 42," Shuman said. "When this race started I said I was going to walk the district and I have physically done that from Calhoun Street to Park Circle, Avondale, all the way to North Charleston."
Shuman said on his platform:
"I believe in fewer taxes, less government but at the same time I live in a failing school district, my children are in a failing school in North Charleston, and I've got stake in the game," Shuman said. "I want to improve the quality of life in District 42 and that's why I'm running in this race."
Shuman has been hit hard by critics who say he failed to file required pre-election forms with the Senate Ethics Committee.
Shuman admits the error saying his campaign is made up of volunteers and they had never filed the reports before and just didn't know. He said all of his election paperwork is complete now.
"They were filed on Friday," Shuman said. "It was filed properly and I challenge my opponents or anyone to check the accuracy of our report. Quite frankly, I wanted to make sure that we filed an accurate and transparent report."
Shuman went on to say that his campaign never received any money from a PAC and only received dollars from individuals.
The SC Senate District 42 special election is on October 1. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.