Incumbent Beaufort County Clerk of Court Roseneau cruises to victory

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comJune 12, 2012 

Three years after being tapped by the governor to finish the term of an indicted Beaufort County clerk of court, Jerri Roseneau was the people's pick Tuesday to continue in that role.

Roseneau, 50, defeated former Clerk's Office employee Ray Garza in the Republican primary with 81 percent of the vote with all but absentee and fail-safe precincts counted, according to unofficial results from the S.C. Election Commission.

No Democrat sought the office in Tuesday's primary, so barring a challenge from an independent or write-in candidate in November's general election, Roseneau will win a four-year term.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Roseneau for comment were unsuccessful.

The campaign was Roseneau's first political race. She was appointed by then-Gov. Mark Sanford in August 2009 to replace former Clerk Elizabeth Smith, who resigned shortly before she was indicted on embezzlement charges. Smith later was convicted of using $23,000 from the Clerk's Office to buy life insurance policies and a family vacation home.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Garza for comment were unsuccessful. However, he said in the campaign's final hours that revelations Friday that he received $919 from Smith to cover personal expenses during his 2 1/2 year-stint in the Clerk's Office had damaged his candidacy.

"I am doing the same things I was doing before, but now the reception is different," Garza said Monday.

The payments, while not against the law, were "inappropriate," according to 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone. Garza said he did not ask for the payments, which were issued by Smith for clothes, medical bills, and an education and treatment class required after a years-old DUI conviction.

Garza said he did not repay the money.

Related content

  1. Beaufort County candidates make final push, June 11, 2012
  2. Disgraced Beaufort County clerk Smith paid Garza $900 for clothes, DUI class, June 8, 2012

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