District 33 State Senate seat election heats up

District 33 State Senate seat election heats up
District 33 challenger Scott Pyle. (Source: WMBF News)
District 33 challenger Scott Pyle. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Three major state senate seats are up for grabs.  One race features a 24-year incumbent and leader of your local politics.  District 33 state Senator Luke Rankin is running against local Horry County businessman Scott Pyle.

Senator Rankin ran against three other republicans in 2008, but ran unopposed in 2012.  His race against Pyle has grabbed the attention of Horry County and Governor Nikki Haley, who endorsed Pyle.

"So you have a choice on June 14th, you can vote for a Republican, Scott Pyle, or you can vote for 'Democrat' Luke Rankin. You decide," Governor Haley stated at a Pyle campaign event in Carolina Forest.

Governor Haley has endorsed the opponents of three well-known state senators and longtime allies.  She has openly said she has thrown her support to the newcomers because some current lawmakers do not support her agenda.  Senate President Pro Temp Hugh Leatherman of Florence, Senator Luke Rankin of Conway and Senator Wes Hayes of Rock Hill do not have the governor's backing.  She has also refused support for incumbent state Rep. Stephen Goldfinch of Murrells Inlet.

Governor Haley has spent thousands in negative advertisements against Weatherman and Rankin.

"Is it control? Is it having somebody who will advance her agenda? Or is it somebody who is independent enough to stand up to and stand up to people when the governors wrong...and I think my record supports that," Senator Rankin said.

Senator Rankin said the governor is booting those out of office who do not support her agenda.  He says he thinks Governor Haley has been effective in South Carolina except for the past six months.  Senator Rankin is a strong supporter of the farm bill, which the governor vetoed.

"Why is she against me? Why is she against others? Because she wants control.  She wants a puppet in the senate, who, when times are tough, and the question is to vote for your people or to vote for her...she would have bought this candidate," Senator Rankin said in reference to his opponent, Pyle.

Pyle has also attacked the senator's campaign.  In a slew of advertisements, Pyle has accused the senator of not doing what he says when it comes to voting and following through with his campaign promises, specifically the roadways.

"Let's maintain the roads we have.  Let's build the roads we need, and if elected I will focus on our roads until our needs are met," Pyle said.  "For the level of frustration as a businessman, just being frustrated with someone saying they're fixing these roads, I mean where are these roads that are being fixed?  Saying they're lowering our taxes, he's raised our taxes. Saying he's not for Common Core, where he's supported Common Core.  It's in black and white, and if we can't trust someone on their record, on saying how they're going to vote and voting that way, they're trying to rewrite history," Pyle added.

However, Senator Rankin has not lacked in rebuttal.  The senator has provided letters he said proves he has voted as he said he would, and true to Republican beliefs, in his years as senator.  Senator Rankin says you cannot alter the senate journal, where the records came from.

"I kept waiting for him to tell the people where he got his facts from, and then I finally showed everybody the actual senate journal.  So, he and his backers obviously don't care about telling the truth, they're more interested in pulling one over on the folks of Horry County...my question to him would be where has he been?" Senator Rankin said.

Both Senator Rankin and Pyle deny each allegation. The state Senate seat is a four-year term.

Voting polls open Tuesday, June 14 at 7 a.m.  They close at 7 p.m.

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