Michael Belk, left, and Tony Breeden, right, will face each other in a June 25 runoff for York County Sheriff.

Michael Belk and Tony Breeden are headed for a June 25 runoff in the race for York County Sheriff after Tuesday’s vote did not have a candidate with a majority of the votes.

The split vote will clear the field of three candidates, including the wife of retiring Sheriff Kevin Tolson. Belk has served most recently as Deputy Chief with the Rock Hill Police Department while Breeden rose to lieutenant with Rock Hill before retiring two years ago.

Meanwhile, 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett easily won re-election to a fifth term as the county’s prosecutor, crushing challenger Tyler Bratton with over 70 percent of the vote. The 37-year-old challenger and public defender ran on a pledge of transparency with victims, police agencies, and the community. But Brackett ridiculed him for refusing to debate.

In the other area contests, David Martin defeated Elizabeth Enns in the Republican primary for the District 26 seat. Martin will face Democrat Matt Vilardebo and State Workers Party Kiral Martin in November. Also, Jackie Terribile edged out Michele Branning for the District 66 seat in the S.C. House of Representatives, which has no November opponent.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night in the sheriff’s race, Belk had received 26.6 percent of the vote with Breeden getting 25.7 percent. They were followed by 18.2 percent by Beth Bryant Tolson, 16.9 percent for Chris Blevins and 12.3 for Heath Clevenger.

Each of the candidates brought decades of law enforcement experience. Clevenger and Blevins were retired from the sheriff’s office and Breeden was retired from the Rock Hill Police Department. Beth Bryant Tolson had worked as a sheriff’s deputy and an investigator. Most recently, Tolson served as a DUI and domestic violence investigator for the York County Solicitor’s Office.

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The race took a dramatic turn on April 2 when Sheriff Kevin Tolson suddenly took his name off the ballot with a plan to retire as sheriff. Less than an hour before the deadline, his wife Beth Tolson filed for the position. A week later, the York County Republican Party reopened and extended the filing, which led to the four additional candidates.

Meanwhile, the 16th Circuit Solicitor dominated his race Tuesday. Brackett, 59, promised to continue his record of open and honest communication. He also pointed out that a third of donations to his challenger came from defense attorneys.

Solicitor Kevin Brackett

“Maybe they hope he will remember their help when they need a favor,” Brackett said on his campaign website. “Maybe because he has almost no trial experience to speak of: he has never tried a murder, rape or any other major, violent felony. Possibly it is because they know he has never managed people or a budget and the office will fall apart under his leadership.”

Brackett boasted about his support from “law enforcement, victims, every other Solicitor in South Carolina, virtually our entire legislative delegation, the Attorney General, the Governor and most importantly, my colleagues in the office.”

Greg "Ricky Bobby" Rickabaugh has lived in the Fort Mill and York County community since 2006. He has covered the area while a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer for The Fort Mill...

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4 Comments

  1. While I do hope to vote in this run off, as a realatively new resident of FM I don’t know what the hours and location is for voting.

    I did vote last time, but don’t recall how to get there. Please inform me

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