Richland County Council’s District 11 is unique, in that it is both suburban and rural. It encompasses much of Lower Richland, from the Dorn VA Medical Center along Garners Ferry Road into Hopkins. This Democratic primary race pits third-term incumbent Norman Jackson against public relations firm owner Chakisse Newton.
Jackson has recently found himself in the middle of a number of high-profile county issues. He was among those who abruptly voted to fire County Administrator Gerald Seals, initially ignoring the procedure laid out in state law. (After the firing, Seals and the county reached a settlement calling for Seals to be paid roughly $1 million. Jackson voted against the settlement agreement.)
Seals told The State that the effort to fire him came because he challenged Jackson about the purchase of some land for Pinewood Park, claiming Jackson directed a private company to buy the $120,000 piece of land on behalf of the county; Jackson denied that he was a part of that purchase. Also, in May, Council voted to ask SLED to look into a claim that Jackson bullied and threatened an assistant county administrator. Jackson told The State that those allegations were part of a “slander campaign by a disgruntled employee” in advance of the election.
Meanwhile, Newton has told Free Times she would work to improve EMS response times in Lower Richland, and would work to “build allies” who would support the district. In a post on her campaign website, Newton says she’d work to restore “trust and accountability” in the county. — Chris Trainor