Candidates prepare for election to replace State Rep. Bedingfield

Eric Bedingfield
In this Jan. 10, 2017 file photo, Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Greenville, walks through the House chamber during the first day of legislative session at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. Bedingfield once shunned marijuana use, but when his eldest son died of an overdose last Easter, ending a six-year struggle with opioid addiction, the conservative Republican co-sponsored this year's medical cannabis legislation. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) The special election for the House District 28 seat will be held Tuesday.

The district covers most of southern Greenville County.

The seat is currently filled by State Representative Eric Bedingfield who’s leaving his position for a job at Greenville Tech. He will leave his position on January 18th.

Four republican candidates are vying for the state house. The candidates are Krystal Blume, Jonathan Smith, Ashley Trantham, and Bill Welch.

However, there have been concerns with voters over the candidates.

Candidate Blume does have a criminal history from over a decade ago of writing fraudulent checks. She says the charges came from a time when she was living through an abusive relationship with her ex-husband.

“I wrote them,” Blume said. “I just did not know there was not money. He was taking money out of the checking account… I thought we had a certain amount, like I said it was an extremely abusive, controlling situation and environment, and I had no clue.”

She says she paid the money back that she owed and also got out of the abusive relationship.

“I fought back from all that, and the life that I’m enjoying now is the fighter in me that’s going to take me to Columbia, and it’s going to prevail when I get to Columbia,” Blume said.

The Director of Elections and Voter Registration, Conway Belangia, says anyone with a misdemeanor can run for office, and there are parameters that allow people with felonies to also file for candidacy.

“You gotta pay your debt to society and be out of the possibility of running for office for a number of years,” Belangia said.

Also, voters raised concern over property tax records for a Greenville County property showing Candidate Smith’s address listed in Anderson.

Smith says the Anderson address is where his disabled and widowed mother now lives. However, the location listed on the property records he says is his childhood home.

He says he now lives on a camper in the back of that property and uses the main home as rental property for extra income.

“That is my home, and I’ll stand by that and defend that from now until judgement day,” Smith says.

He says the often goes back to Anderson to help his mother and was living there for a period of time.

“I do things for my mother,” Smith said. “I’m not ashamed of that. The people of District 28 need to know that if I win this seat I will still spend time in Anderson because that is where she lives.”

He says he didn’t think about changing his address back on his property tax records but plans to do so.

Belangia says residency is tricky when considering eligibility for candidates because many people have a home address but live or work somewhere else for an extended amount of time.

“I will say everyone who filed for office is properly registered in Greenville County and as far as we can tell, eligible to run for office,” Belangia said.

Polls will be open from 7 to 7 on Tuesday.