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Joe Wilson faces primary opposition from his hometown's mayor

Springdale, SC (Paul Kirby) – Congressman Joe Wilson (SC2) faces opposition today as Lexington County residents go to the polls to select the Republican candidates that will face any Democrats this coming fall. Representative Joe Wilson of Springdale, SC is no exception to this primary race as he faces Springdale’s current Mayor Michael Bishop in the primary today.

Wilson first went to Washington in 2002 with a whopping 84% of the vote. He replaced his close friend Republican Congressman Floyd Spence of Lexington who was said to have asked Wilson to run from his deathbed. Prior to that Wilson spent six years as a member of the SC State Senate representing primarily the people of Lexington County.

Wilson is married to Roxanne and the couple have four sons. Wilson retired from the National Guard and his sons have also served. Each is an Eagle Scout and successful as adults. Joe can try to take some credit for the boys’ successes but those who know the Wilson family realize that mom was the commanding general of Camp Wilson even though the pair successfully co-parented for many years. Many have teased over the years that if Wilson were ever elected President of the United States, Roxanne would be the toughest secretary of defense ever known.

The Wilson household has changed from one of corralling their sons to Boy Scouts, sports practice, or other events, to corralling a houseful of daughters-in-law and grandchildren at times. It is ironic that Wilson is being challenged in the primary today by the mayor of Springdale, Michael Bishop. Wilson was at one time the municipal judge for that town and still calls it home today.

Michael Bishop is in his sixth year as the mayor of the town of Springdale. He has self-limited himself to only two terms. He defeated long time former Mayor Pat Smith in what some thought was a shocker because the people of the town had dutifully reelected Smith every four years for decades. Bishop felt the government of Springdale had gone stale and went in with the attitude that the town’s government could do more for the people without further taxes. He promoted lots of family activities and events with the help of a very supportive council.

Since Bishop was elected, the town’s new splashpad has been installed in a completely revamped town park. The streets are cleaner, code enforcement has improved, and the Springdale Police Department is top of the line.

Not only have municipal services improved but the family events that are held each year are many, very popular, and of super quality. There are new stone Welcome to Town signs, and it keeps getting better every day. Springdale was always been known as a bedroom community of Columbia. Now, it’s still a bedroom community, just one with a visionary masterplan and strong leadership from the top down.

Congressman Wilson is known as a strong supporter of the military and their dependents in Washington and is decidedly pro-business in South Carolina. He is an authority on foreign relations with our allies including countries like Israel and Turkey. He signed on to lots of meaningful legislation over the years, yet he’s still most known to many for shouting, “You lie!” when President Barak Obama was giving a State of the Union Address. He supports President Trump but admits that Roxanne was the first in his family to swing Trump’s way when he first ran.

Bishop says that Wilson is getting tired and does little for the people of SC District 2. He said if he’s elected, he’ll focus more on what the people of this district need. It stretches from a small portion of Richland County through Lexington County, much of Aiken, and Barnwell County.

Bishop, an employee of Clemson University, says if elected he'll quit his job and put his whole heart and soul into serving. Bishop also owns a green cemetery near Swansea but one of his sons is running the day-to-day of that. Bishop says people in the district will have his personal cell phone number and he will either answer or call back everyone who reaches out to him. Remember that Bishop believes in term limits, so he says he won’t stay forever or become a career politician.

Joe Wilson is a smart man that has served his country both in elected positions and in the military. Mike Bishop, who lives within a mile of the congressman’s home as the crow flies, has been a small-town mayor for six years. Wilson is fast approaching his 74th birthday while Bishop is in his 50’s. One has years of experience in the slow, methodical process of governing and the other is a quicker, more agile mover that so far has seen quick improvements under his leadership of a small town. What the voters of SC Congressional District 2 need to decide today is are they happy with the horse they’ve been riding for years, or is it time to put Old Faithful out to pasture and switch mounts for a younger ride.

Like most challengers, Bishop has been woefully underfunded in the primary race due in most part due to the COVID-19. Challengers just couldn’t go out and raise funds where crowds would gather at events or even go door-to-door. One challenger said just this week that if he knocked on anyone’s door and tried to talk, they, “Freaked out and ran!”

Wilson is well financed as most incumbents are. He is facing a democratic challenge in the fall and hasn’t even cracked his war chest for the Bishop challenge in the primary today. He’s saving all his stored rubies, gold, and silver for an upcoming November day.

This district normally votes about 60% Republican each election with a makeup of only 40% Democrats. Wilson’s General Election records seem to fall pretty close to those numbers each cycle. What some of us are gauging is not whether he wins or loses today, but what percentages say with their votes If they're ready for a change on the Republican side. If Bishop loses but still polls well, that will indicate that people may be tiring of what Wilson’s doing in Washington and just looking for the right person to make a change.

When you go to the polls today, vote your conscience, vote informed, just vote! Polls open at 7 a.m. and they close at 7 p.m. All votes do count so exercise one of your most precious rights and vote!

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