Alan Ray is a fixture at “Republican” party events in South Carolina. The Lexington County cosmetologist and political strategist (how’s that for a combo) is known for his affability and infectious charisma. As a former hairdresser, he’s also known for being a good listener … and keeping people’s confidences.
Ray was one of the earliest supporters of former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. In fact, he was Haley’s former hairdresser – and the driving force behind the only piece of legislation she passed during her six years as a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.
This bill – which relaxed state regulations on shampooing hair (seriously) – was actually signed by former governor Mark Sanford in Ray’s salon back in May of 2008.
“This is going to mean a lot for small businesses in South Carolina,” Haley said at the time of the bill signing.
Anyway, Ray’s son – cosmetology executive John Ray – announced back in June that he intended to run against veteran incumbent Rick Quinn for S.C. House District 69 (map).
Since then, Quinn has resigned his seat after pleading guilty to misconduct in office in connection with the ongoing #ProbeGate investigation into corruption in state government. Quinn’s resignation created a vacancy in this seat which will be filled by a special election.
Will John Ray be among the candidates in this special election? No … but his father will.
Alan Ray confirmed to us this week that he is planning to run for this seat – and hinted that he might have some big-name GOP figures backing his bid.
Filing for the special election will open at 12:00 p.m. EST on December 29 and close at the same time on January 6, 2018. Partisan primary elections will be held on February 27, with partisan runoffs scheduled for March 13 (if necessary).
The special election itself will be held on May 1 – with the winner serving out the final six months of Quinn’s current term in office.
District 69 is located in Lexington County just west of downtown Columbia, S.C. It includes parts of Lexington, S.C. and West Columbia, S.C. Given its heavy GOP lean, we doubt any viable Democratic candidates will file for the seat.
Ray is one of nine candidates to express interest in running for the GOP nomination. Others include Lexington, S.C. town councilman Stephen Baker, former Lexington County councilman Smokey Davis, attorney Joel Deason, local school board member Anne Marie Green, local realtor Reggie Murphy, GOP activist Dino Teppera, attorney Michael Weaver and small business owner Chris Wooten.
In addition to the likelihood of a crowded field, this special election will take place as a regularly scheduled primary fight gets underway.
Filing for the regular June 2018 partisan primary elections opens on March 16 and closes on March 30, which could make for some very interesting politicking in the event there is a closely contested special primary election.
Bottom line? Whoever wins this special election will have to immediately begin campaigning to keep their seat.
To follow our coverage of all of these S.C. State House races, make sure to click on articles with the #SCStateHouse tag …
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