Beaufort County Council candidate Cynthia Bensch said her loss in a Republican primary in the late 1990s was such a "nominal thing" that she forgot to include it on a candidate questionnaire she submitted to The Island Packet, which published a portion of her responses Tuesday.
Bensch made two unsuccessful bids for a County Council seat in the late 1990s, according to election records.
In 1997, she lost a special primary election to Tom Taylor, who captured 72 percent of the vote. In 1998, Bensch again lost to Taylor in a regular primary, with Taylor taking 68 percent of the vote.
On a questionnaire from the newspaper, Bensch did not answer a question that asked candidates to list previous bids for elected office. Based on that information, The Island Packet incorrectly reported Tuesday that this was Bensch's first run for elective office.
Her opponent, Dan Duryea, emailed the newspaper Tuesday requesting a correction.
"Clearly there are two areas where she (did not answer) questions accurately. One is that she (didn't answer whether she) has run for prior office. Two is that she said she has lived in the district for 33 years when clearly that is not the case," he said. Reached Tuesday, Bensch called the omission an "oversight" and explained that she was busy working with a group of missionaries earlier this month when the questionnaire was due.
"It was so long ago, I figured nobody would remember it," Bensch said. "I literally forgot about it, to be honest. It was such a nominal thing."
Bensch said she remembers just one campaign against Taylor, not two.
"That was a fatally flawed election, and I did not want to bring attention to our election commissioner who gave voters incorrect information as to their voting district," Bensch said of the 1997 race.
News articles from that time reported potential problems due to new polling locations and split precincts.
At the time, Bensch lived in Windmill Harbour on Jenkins Island. She now lives in Rose Hill in greater Bluffton.
Bensch's questionnaire also indicated she has lived within the new District 7 for 33 years. She said Tuesday that she has lived in the county since 1979 but moved into Rose Hill, which is now part of District 7, three years ago.
Duryea, who is running as a petition candidate, has lived within the new district's boundaries for 14 years. He lived on Hilton Head from 1980 to 1998.