After a Republican primary election in Dorchester County produced a Tea Party upset victory, one local Democrat has decided to enter the race.
Tim Patrick formally announced his candidacy as an independent for the county council’s District 7 on June 20. He’ll face Republican nominee Jay Byars in November’s General Election.
It was Byars’ victory in the June 8 primary election that aided his last-minute decision to enter the race. “I will admit that Jay Byars’ winning the Republican nomination played a significant part in my decision to run for County Council,” Patrick says. “I’ve been paying attention to the races around the county and – I have to be honest – I have not heard any real solutions from Jay Byars, only rhetoric.”
Byars ran against incumbent District 7 councilman Jamie Feltner in the Republican primary with a campaign that included statements many – especially Feltner – found questionable.
One particular argument Byars continued against his primary opponent was that Feltner voted to increase county council wages from $15,000 to $20,000. Byars overlooked that included in that same motion was a cease to reimbursements for personal expenses, Feltner said, and which could reduce the total wages paid to many council members to that maximum ceiling.
Feltner also continually pointed out that many of Byars’ campaign statements included incorrect statistical information. For example, Byars argued that Feltner overlooked a high local unemployment rate of 12 percent while in office; the actual county unemployment rate was only 8.5 percent at the time, Feltner pointed out, far below the state average.
Byars’ website still reads “local unemployment … has been 11 percent or worse” since February 2009 on its homepage, however. Its “Meet Jay” page also specifies an 11 percent rate of local unemployment. Another page of his site reads the statewide unemployment rate to be 10 percent since January 2009.
Despite this questionability in information that Feltner continued to point out, Byars won the June 8 primary election by a 56-44 margin from a pool of 2,903 votes.
Patrick has served as a member of the Dorchester County Democratic Party’s executive committee as representative of his Oakbrook precinct since 2008. He’s also worked with the party’s Issues and Initiatives Committee.
Because he did not see need to enter the race before the primary election, Patrick can now only enter as an independent. While he’s required to gather at least 729 signatures from District 7 voters in petition to get his name on the ballot, Patrick declared a personal goal of acquiring 1,635, which would be one more signature than the number of votes Byars received in the primary.
Having to step aside from the Democratic Party and run as an independent is no problem to Patrick, whose campaign slogan is “No Politics, No Party, Just Leadership.”
“It’s time that the people had an independent voice on the council,” he says.
In the few days since his announcement, public reception of Patrick’s declaration has been “overwhelmingly positive,” he says. “I cannot tell you how many people have come to me in excitement about my run.
“What surprised me the most was the support from those who hold positions of leadership. North Charleston City Councilman Ed Astle and Charleston County Councilman, former state legislator and circuit court Judge Vic Rawl have both voiced their support for me.”
He anticipates continued support from the general public, too, and especially younger voters, who need improved participation in government, he states. “It’s time the young people of our county, state and nation step up and shape this country for the future, not the past,” says Patrick, who turns 25 later this year.
The particular issues on which Patrick’s opinion sharply varies from Byars’ include business incentives and taxes, real estate development, and the specific partisanship that Byars implies would influence him as councilman if elected.
“His primary policy idea is to give large corporations huge incentives,” Patrick says. “It’s our small, local businesses that deserve tax incentives. I believe we need to step back and focus on the health of small businesses.
“Byars’ desire to continue giving tax incentives to large corporations will only encourage the rapid growth of Dorchester,” adds Patrick in reference to a rapid population increase in the county. “Real estate developers have grown this community faster than the county can support the infrastructure.
“We have seen all across the county how the real estate developers have raped and pillaged our green spaces, over-crowded our schools and destroyed the county budget. Jay Byars wants more of this.”
Byars is part-owner of Good Faith Mortgage, a mortgage brokerage firm with two offices in South Carolina and another in Florida. The firm also offers financing of commercial property.
“(He) also criticized Jamie Feltner for reaching across the aisle and voting with Democrats,” Patrick points out. “Jamie’s ability to play the fence was a great thing for Dorchester County.”
On his website, Byars specifically listed Feltner’s “voting with Democrats” as a key point against the incumbent in his primary campaign.
“Since we already know that Jay Byars is going to play partisan politics on the council, the idea of his election would mean the silencing of two of the most patriotic voices on the council, Kenny Waggoner and Willie Davis,” Patrick says.
Waggoner and Davis are the council’s two Democratic members.
“Now is not the time to play partisan politics. Now is the time to make tough decisions that will propel this county into the future.”
A self-declared moderate in the political spectrum, Patrick is already active in his community, and first made a name for himself two years ago by protesting commercial development near his Wescott Plantation home.
Original plans included a gas station abutting private property and even a mortuary, all directly next to the subdivision.
Patrick recruited over 100 of his neighbors to protest such developments, and with success. Wescott Property scrapped those original ideas, and also agreed to move a planned hotel property to another location and to conduct studies on traffic impact, which were other key points Patrick and his neighbors contested.
He also worked with state Rep. Patsy Knight on improvements to traffic lighting in another part of Dorchester County.
To Patrick, this interest in the community results not only from his dedication to civil service, but as moral obligation, as well.
“I believe that the most important trait of service can be defined by Mark 10: 43 – 45: ‘But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'”
Patrick spent four years in the U.S. Navy, serving as a cryptologic technician collector, and was honorably discharged in 2007 with the rank of Petty Officer, Second Class.
Today he works for Scientific Research Corp. in Charleston as a systems analyst.
Currently attending Webster Univ., Patrick was accepted into the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society after making the Dean’s List.
He also volunteers with the United Way Vision Council.
For more information on Tim Patrick, visit his facebook page.