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Union County Rejects Scandal-Scarred Sheriff As Election Heads to Runoff

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Union County

Union County, South Carolina will have a new sheriff this year.

While the sheriff election heads to a runoff — the Union County voters have spoken and decided scandal-scarred sheriff David Taylor‘s days as an elected official are numbered.

With all precincts reported, Taylor finished in third place in the Democratic primary Tuesday evening.

The Democratic primary — in which Taylor ran against five other democratic candidates — did not produce a winner Tuesday. Jeff Bailey took the majority of the votes, but not enough to win outright. The race will head to a runoff election on June 23.

Bailey will run against Carl H. Jennings for the seat in the runoff election in two weeks.

Thom McAbee, a native of Union, S.C. who has served in multiple law enforcement positions, was the only candidate to file as a Republican. Since no other GOP candidates filed, he is the default nominee of his party for the November election.

Retired Union county magistrate Jeff Bailey – who ran as a Republican in 2016 (and was widely expected to seek the GOP nomination this go-round) – instead filed as a Democrat, according to state election records.

The election took an interesting twist two months ago when the law enforcement officer decided at the very last moment to submit paperwork to run for reelection in November 2020.

Taylor – a Democrat who was first elected Union sheriff in 2008 – had previously said he would not run for a fourth term. Why not?

The publication of graphic sexual allegations involving him and other officers that were first raised in a S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigatory report released back in January.

These allegations were first reported on by our news outlet (with a follow-up story here).

The graphic allegations against Taylor – hints of which first appeared four years ago – were linked to a separate embezzlement investigation into a now-deceased former staffer in the sheriff’s office. That embezzlement investigation quickly morphed into one focused on “several allegations concerning possible misconduct in office by Sheriff Taylor,” per the SLED report

This news outlet slammed Taylor when the initial revelations against him were first revealed, calling the “gross mismanagement of public funds” by his office “inexcusable.”

“Even more inexcusable?” Founding Editor Will Folks noted. “His conduct with multiple subordinates – and his improper use of taxpayer resources to conduct what was clearly personal ‘business.’”

–Will Folks contributed to this report.

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