Colleton’s senator looking forward to not having to run for election in 2016 | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | April 14, 2016 5:00 pm
Last Updated: April 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
S.C. Sen. Margie Bright Matthews is looking forward to a year on the sidelines during the 2016 election cycle.
When the filing deadline for the governmental posts on the November general election ended, Bright Matthews found that she had no challengers in the Democratic primary and no challengers filed on the Republican side for November.
“I’m so glad not to have any opposition,” Bright Matthews said. “Oh my goodness, I and my team were so excited that we could put the signs in storage.”
As the filing deadline was nearing an end, “We were all holding our breath. Last year we worked non-stop from July 1 until October 19,” Bright Matthews said.
In that five-month window of opportunity, Bright Matthews and her team successfully ran three times in her bid to succeed the late S.C. Sen. Clementa Pinckney in the state senate seat for the 45th District.
In the Democratic primary to fill Pinckney’s unexpired term, Bright Matthews accumulated the highest number of votes among the 11 candidates on the Sept. 1 ballot.
Her 36.9 percent of the vote in that primary resulted in another election two weeks later, a run-off between Bright Matthews and S.C. St. Rep. Kenneth Hodges, D-Green Pond.
When those votes were counted, Bright Matthews won with 56.2 percent of the vote.
That set up an October race against Republican Al Fernandez. When those votes were counted, Bright Matthews had 88.5 percent of the votes.
Bright Matthews was asked if she thought the results of that trio of 2015 races led to a lack of challengers for 2016 in her bid for a full term as state senator.
“Some people had suggested that was the reason I don’t have any opposition,” Bright Matthews said. But, she suggests, there could have been other reasons.
“It could be that some people did not realize I had to run again because I had just been elected,” she said. “That’s one scenario.”
“The other scenario could be people thinking, ‘Let’s at least give her a chance to have a full term,’” Bright Matthews offered. “Let’s see what she does.”
No longer facing long hours mounting another campaign, Bright Matthews said, she has other uses for the free time.
“I had to put a lot of things on hold when I ran,” Bright Matthew said. Without another election looming, she said she can spend the time in her law office, “taking care of my clients.” She will also be able to spend more time with her husband and family.
The lack of a campaign, she added, will give her motor vehicle a reprieve. “You don’t realize how many miles I’ve put on my poor little van.”
Bright Matthews said she doesn’t see herself getting involved in the campaign of other candidates. “As far as local and state races, I don’t intend getting involved at all.”
She spent some time during the South Carolina presidential primary campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and will travel to Philadelphia in late July as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.