By Betsy Finklea
After 12 long years, Douglas Pernell won Dillon County Sheriff on Tuesday, November 3, to become the first African-American in Dillon County to win a countywide office.
Pernell convincingly won the election with more than 1,600 votes over Tracy Pelt, who finished second in the race. Pernell had 7,213 votes; Pelt had 5,545 votes; and Phil Davis had 334 votes.
When it was apparent that Pernell was the winner, he went outside of the Dillon County Voter Registration Office, where several people were gathered waiting for the results, and announced that he was the next Sheriff of Dillon County. Loud cheering ensued, and Pernell made a speech, which can be seen on The Dillon Herald’s page on Facebook®. He also made a speech at his victory party at South of the Border Convention Center, which will also be available to watch on The Dillon Herald’s page in a reader-submitted video.
Pernell thanked everyone for the support they have shown over the years. He said it had been a “long, hard battle.” Then someone yelled from the crowd “but a change has come.”
Pernell said he would be a Sheriff for all people. He said that the Sheriff’s Office would not harass anyone, but “we will do our jobs.”
Pernell said he was the first African-American ever to win a countywide elected office in Dillon County.
He said his hope is that we can all come together and quit fighting each other. He said when he takes office in January he hopes to bring the community together. He said he will be a Sheriff for everyone including those who supported him and those who did not.
In his speech at South of the Border Convention Center, Pernell encouraged the young people that if they have a dream that they should not let anyone talk them out of that dream.
He said his office will work to make Dillon County a safe place again, but they will need the citizens’ help to do this and if they see something or know something, they must say something.
Pernell said when he takes office his administration will be going out into the community and will be reaching out to the citizens. He said we must all work together. He said it will take dedication and understanding and that the Sheriff’s Office will be there to “protect and serve.” He thanked his opponents on the campaign they ran and said he hoped to meet with them and talk.
Pernell said if everyone works together that we can make Dillon County a great place to live. Pernell said he will fight for the citizens of Dillon County each and every day while he is in office.
In the other contested local race, Christopher Miller won over Marvin Suggs. Miller had 1,131 votes to Suggs’ 797 votes. There were three write-ins.
Both questions regarding Sunday Alcohol Sales in the City of Dillon passed.
Several wins were confirmed in various races where there was no other opponent including Clerk of Court: Gwen T. Hyatt; Coroner: Donnie Grimsley; County Council District One: Jamal Campbell; County Council District Three: Detrice McCollum-Dawkins, who also made history herself as the first elected African-American Dillon County Councilwoman; County Council District Four: T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea; State Senate District 28: Greg Hembree; State Senate District 30: Kent Williams; State House of Representatives District 55: Jackie Hayes; State House District 57: Lucas Atkinson; and Solicitor Circuit 4: Will Rogers.
Donald Trump, Jaime Harrison, and Tom Rice all won in Dillon County. Lindsey Graham and Tom Rice both retained their seats statewide in these races.
Voter turnout was high with nearly 67 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.
These are the unofficial election results for Dillon County. Results are not official until certified by the Dillon County Election Commission on Thursday.
De La Fuente-Richardson: 9
U.S. HOUSE OF
Melissa Ward Watson-6,336
STATE HOUSE OF
STATE HOUSE OF
CLERK OF COURT
Detrice McCollum Dawkins-1,515
T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea-1,566
SOIL AND WATER
CITY OF DILLON
SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES
Shall the South Carolina Department of Revenue be authorized to issue temporary permits in the City of Dillon for a period not to exceed twenty four hours to allow the possession, sale, and consumption of alcoholic liquors by the drink to bona fide nonprofit organizations and business establishments otherwise authorized to be licensed for consumption-on-premises sales?
Yes, In Favor of the Question: 1,733
No, Opposed to the Question: 1,063
Shall the Department of Revenue be authorized to issue temporary permits in the City of Dillon for a period not to exceed twenty-four hours to allow the sale of beer and wine at permitted off-premises locations without regard to the days or hours of sale?”
Yes, In Favor of the Question: 1,647
No, Opposed to the Question: 1,165