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Florence County Sheriff Election: Will The Drama Continue?

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In one of the most contentious, drama-filled South Carolina sheriff elections this year, two candidates have emerged.

S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) trooper T.J. Joye edged out Florence county chief deputy Glen Kirby for the Florence County Sheriff Republican seat in Tuesday’s primary election. Joye beat Kirby by about 1,400 votes. Joye received 55 percent of the vote while Kirby received 45.

On the Democrat side, Darrin Yarborough trounced veteran law enforcement officer Jody Lynch by a landslide. Yarborough won by about 8,000 votes – an 80-20 percent margin.

Last month, we reported on a mud-slinging contest between the two Republican candidates. Joye called Kirby a “self obsessed tyrant” and added “may heaven help the people of this county” in the event the candidate wins election.

Well, he didn’t win. But will the drama continue?

These two veteran law enforcement officers are locked in an increasingly acrimonious battle as they fought to become the next top cop in this county of nearly 140,000 people – which is located in the Pee Dee region of the state between the capital city of Columbia, S.C. and the Grand Strand.

According to Joye, Kirby is responsible for leaking text messages that Joye sent to a 23-year-old female nurse who has been volunteering on his campaign.

These messages were the focus of a story on this news outlet in May – one that appears to have prompted Joye’s criticism of Kirby.

There is no incumbent in this race. Former sheriff Kenney Boone – a Republican who had held this office since 2004 – resigned in January after pleading guilty to charges of embezzlement and misconduct in office. Boone had been suspended from office since his initial indictment on these charges back in April of 2019. Prior to being indicted, Boone was seeking a fifth term as sheriff.

The winners of today’s round will head to the general election Nov. 3.

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-Will Folks contributed to this report.