Over two-thirds of those who voted in Tuesday’s special election for House District 93 chose Democrat Russell Ott over Republican Charles “Charlie” Stoudemire.
“It feels good, it feels great!” beamed Ott at a victory celebration at Unique Sensations Social Hall, just on the outskirts of St. Matthews.
Ott’s father, Harry Ott, served District 93 for 15 years before stepping down to become the state executive director of the federal Farm Service Agency.
One year remained on his unexpired House term and the winner of Tuesday’s special election will finish out the elder Ott’s term.
“I’m excited. I’m ready to go to work. I’m ready to go to work for each and every one of you,” the newly-elected lawmaker said to a crowd of supporters as election returns poured in indicating that he was the winner.
District 93 is comprised of all of Calhoun County and portions of Orangeburg and Lexington counties.
Unofficial results from the S.C. Election Commission show that Ott received 1,898 votes to Stoudemire’s 894.
In Calhoun County, Ott won 1,214 votes to Stoudemire’s 563.
In Orangeburg County, Ott received 525 to Stoudemire’s 163.
And in Lexington County, Stoudemire eked out 168 votes to Ott’s 159.
Harry Ott said, “I’m very excited for Russell. … I know now District 93 will be well-represented. Everybody will be able to come and have a voice. I’m very happy.”
House District 97 Rep. Patsy Knight, D–Dorchester County, remarked, “I think it’s wonderful. We had a tremendous loss with Harry (resigning), but a tremendous plus with Russell.”
Stanley Myers, a Columbia attorney and high school classmate of Ott, said, “I can’t be any happier for anybody than Russell right now. I think he’ll do a great job for the folks in House District 93 and South Carolina.”
Before taking the oath of office as a state lawmaker, Ott said he will resign from his position as a lobbyist for South Carolina Farm Bureau where he’s worked for the past 8 years.
“I plan on continuing to work with Farm Bureau and other farm agencies across South Carolina,” he said. “I will not be a lobbyist.”
He’ll also continue working on his family farm in Calhoun County.
Ott said he would like to serve on the House Agriculture Committee or Education Committee, once he assumes office. He’s not certain when he’ll officially take the oath of office.
Ott, 35, grew up on his family’s farm and is a graduate of Clemson University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned his master of public administration from the University of South Carolina.
He has two sons, ages 6 and 4.
Ott thanked God, his family, and supporters for the victory Tuesday evening.
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