Brannon earns GOP bid, ousts Millwood for Dist. 38 seat

Published 3:13 pm Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some 86 votes separated S.C. House District 38 candidate Doug Brannon and incumbent Joey Millwood in Tuesday nights GOP run-off election, but that was more than enough for Brannon.

Brannon unseated the one-term incumbent due in large part to an overwhelming victory in Brannons home precinct, with polls at Landrum United Methodist Church.

I was working for a victory, but I wasnt concerned about a margin, Brannon said Wednesday morning. I needed to win. I wanted to win, and, thankfully, we did.

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Brannon won with 52.5 percent of the 4,650 votes cast, defeating Millwood 2,368 to 2,282.

While Millwood carried six of 12 District 38 precincts, Brannon, a former Landrum mayor, easily carried Landrum by nearly 300 votes (518-226). Six precincts were decided by 20 votes or less and the Arrowood Baptist precinct was tied at 47 votes apiece.

As the Republican nominee, Brannon will move on to face Democrat and fellow Landrum resident John Lewis and Constitution Party candidate Jerry H. Blanton in the general election Nov. 2.

The GOP run-off was hotly contested over the final days and included a stump visit from GOP gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley alongside Millwood Saturday evening at Nodines Restaurant in Campobello. Haley became the first woman to receive a nomination for governor of South Carolina with a sweeping victory over U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett.

Haley captured 65 percent of the vote and will face Democratic nominee and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen in the general election.

Millwood, 30, did not return a call seeking comment for this story, but told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that, some fights are worth losing.

If I had to go back and compromise all my principles to win this race, it wouldnt have been worth it, Millwood told the newspaper. I fought for limited government, I fought for the unborn Ive done everything that I said Id do when I got elected, and I wouldnt have done it any different.

It was just a tight, very hard-fought race, Brannon said. I think there was no more anti-incumbent sentiment against him than anti-lawyer sentiment against me. We both had things we had to work against. Thankfully, the efforts made on my behalf paid off.

In an all-conservative GOP race, Brannon also had to try to differentiate his brand of conservatism from Millwoods.

That was always a concern I am very conservative, but I also understand that when things are bad, sometimes new and different methods need to be employed to turn things around, Brannon said. New and different doesnt mean liberal or moderate it means new or different and you have to do things to lift the burden on small businesses and the taxpayer.

When it comes to spending, being fiscally conservative, abortion things like that Im as conservative as they come.

Constitution party candidate Blanton also brings a conservative slant as a third-party candidate in the general election.

The biggest thing is that the primaries are over with and now we can get on with business, said Blanton, 58, a retired businessman, disabled war veteran and grandfather of 12. With the Republicans, theres not that much change, but I think theyre running scared because of the third parties, the Tea Party and all thats going on right now.

Myself, I want to get back to basics states should have rights. I dont believe in property taxes. I know we have to have taxes to operate the state, but not property taxes. I believe in the right to bear arms. I want us to get back to the Constitution.

Democrat John Lewis, president and CEO of Visions Project Development Group and a member of the Landrum City Zoning Board where he served alongside Brannon, said “I called Doug to congratulate him I think we will campaign the right way, on the issues.”

John is a good guy, Brannon said. Were going to be up front with each other and shake hands and campaign.

Millwood was not the only incumbent to lose his seat in Tuesdays run-off.

Trey Gowdy won in a landslide, earning 71 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Bob Inglis for the GOP nomination for U.S. House District 4. In the Lt. Governors race, Ken Ard defeated Bill Connor for the GOP nomination with 61 percent of the vote.