Two incumbent state representatives whose districts include parts of Beaufort County cruised past familiar foes in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Rep. Kenneth Hodges of Green Pond soundly defeated challenger Bobby Mayes with 1,063 votes, or 81 percent. Mayes pulled in 254 votes. Hodges likely will retain the District 121 seat since he faces no Republican challenger in November's general election.
Rep. Curtis Brantley of Ridgeland also is likely headed back to the Statehouse after beating Thayer Rivers 3,044 to 2,495, or 55 percent to 45 percent, for the District 122 seat, which also lacks a Republican contender.
Tuesday's primary marked the third time Mayes has failed to unseat Hodges, a pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Green Pond and a former Bennettsville city councilman. District 121 covers part of Colleton County and much of northern Beaufort County, including Yemassee and Sheldon, part of Burton, all of Pigeon Point and downtown Beaufort north of North Street and west of Charles Street.
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"I'm glad the campaign is over," Hodges said. "It's quite hectic to campaign while you're in session, but I had good people working for me and it looks like we had a good strategy."
Hodges defeated Mayes in a special Democratic primary in 2005 after Rep. Walter Lloyd died in office. He went on to win the general election. Mayes switched parties to challenge Hodges for the seat as a Republican in the 2006 general election and lost.
Speaking on behalf of her father Tuesday night, Barbara Mayes said District 121 deserved a different outcome.
"It's a sad day for District 121," Barbara Mayes said. "I feel sorry for the district. Nothing has changed since Hodges has been in office. My father does have this district on his mind, and he would have made a great representative."
Hodges said Mayes, a tree farmer, has been a formidable opponent in each of the three races.
"He's an aggressive campaigner and he works hard, but I just outworked him," Hodges said.
Brantley again beat Ridgeland attorney Rivers to represent District 122 in the House. Brantley received 549 more votes in the district, which covers Jasper County, a small part of northern Beaufort County and much of Hampton County. Brantley has occupied the seat since 2007 after he beat Rivers in the 2006 primary.
Rivers said he gave the campaign all he had but stopped short of congratulating his opponent.
"We worked very hard but the voters have spoken," Rivers said. "But I have no comment on Mr. Brantley."
Several attempts Tuesday to reach Brantley were unsuccessful.