Independent Mail: Oconee Republicans fill slots early
By David Williams (Contact)
WALHALLA — The political season in Oconee County opened with a surge of Republicans filing while officials with the Democratic Party say their candidates are waiting until the filing period deadline gets closer before signing on the dotted line.

All three members of the Oconee County legislation delegation that live in the county filed first thing Monday morning.

State Representatives Bill Whitmire, R-Walhalla, who has served in the House since 2003 and is seeking a fourth two-year term, Rep. Bill Sandifer, R-Seneca, who has served since 1995 and state Senator Thomas Alexander, R-Walhalla, who served in the House from 1987 to 1994 and who has been a Senator since 1994 all filed at 9 a.m. Monday.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” said Eddie Adams, chairman of the Oconee County Republican Party. “We’re still looking in District 4.”

Republican incumbent Martin Lyles has not indicated he would seek another term on county council from District 4 which is the greater Westminster area.

Incumbent Republican council members Frank Ables in District 5 and Tommy Crumpton in District 2 have signed up to run for another four-year term.

District 5 includes much of southern Oconee County and its eastern border on Hartwell Lake while District 2 is the greater Walhalla area.

Oconee County Sheriff James Singleton has filed for re-election and the Republican sheriff is seeking an historic fifth term.

Clerk of Court Sallie Smith, a Democrat, is retiring, but her long-time assistant Beverly Whitfield, has filed to run as a Republican.

Linda Nix is retiring as the county’s auditor and Ken Nix, who recently retired from Oconee Memorial Hospital, has filed to run for the office as a Republican.

Mr. Adams said he expects Coroner Karl Addis to file this week for re-election.

Ken Campbell, chairman of the Oconee County Democratic Party said he was still in discussion with candidates for local offices and House seats.

Mr. Campbell also said having two candidates fighting it out for the Democratic Party presidential slot on the ticket has affected even the local races.

“Ultimately, a decision at the top is still a ways off and I think who’s on the ticket creates a certain uncertainty and I can understand and respect that,” Mr. Campbell said.

Filing ends at noon on March 30 and those interested in the Democratic Party ticket can call Mr. Campbell at (864) 784-9075 and those interested in the Republican Party ticket can call Mr. Adams at (864) 888-2001.