Debate held for S.C. Senate candidates looking to fill Rev. Pinckney’s seat

CHARLESTON, SC – A special election will take place this September to fill Senator Clementa Pinckney’s South Carolina Senate seat, after he was killed in the Emanuel church shooting back in June.

Tonight, a debate was held in Charleston for 11 senate candidates looking to fill the seat.

While the topics debated ranged from education to healthcare, almost all of the candidates agreed on one topic, filling Senator Pinckney’s seat will be no easy task.

For 15 years State Senator Reverend Clementa Pinckney held the District 45 Senate seat in South Carolina.

But after Reverend Pinckney and eight Emanuel AME Church members were killed back in June, the senate seat has been vacant.

Korey Williams is one of 11 Democratic candidates campaigning for the position and told News 2, “Those are tough shoes to fill. None of us can be Senator Pinckney. He was a great man; however we can move forward into a new era and carry this district to higher heights.”

On Wednesday night, a panel of moderators asked the candidates several questions.

Education was a key topic. Candidate Libbie Green said, “Education is important to me. I feel like it’s the reason I’m in this race, because without education I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve had.”

Candidates also debated crumbling South Carolina roads, abortion, healthcare, and the recent passing of the police body camera bill.

The candidates and people who came to hear them said tonight’s debate helped define each candidate’s position.

And while Reverend Pinckney’s name will long be associated with this seat, the top vote getter has the big task of setting a new agenda.

Candidate Kent Fletcher said, “I look at the opportunity, not to fill Clementa Pinckney’s shoes, nobody can fill Clementa Pinckney’s shoes; I look to stand in my own shoes for the next State Senator for District 45.”

Eleven democrats and two republicans have filed for the seat that includes parts of Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties.

Primaries will be September 1st and the special election is scheduled for October 20th.

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