Race to Watch: Joe McCulloch, Kirkman Finlay look to fill empty - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Race to Watch: McCulloch, Finlay look to fill empty seat

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

After four sometimes contentious years on Columbia City Council, and an expensive but unsuccessful campaign for mayor, few would blame Kirkman Finlay if he walked away from politics.

Instead, the business owner/farmer/entrepreneur is back, running for the District 75 House seat vacated by fellow republican Jim Harrison.  Harrison held the seat for two decades.

"The way I view myself is a person who goes up, looks at the situation, assesses it and says 'Guys we've got problems here. How do we fix them?'" said Finlay. "'How do we move forward and make the state even a better place?'"

Finlay's opposition is another familiar Midlands figure: Democrat and attorney Joe McCulloch. His career includes time as a prosecutor and USC legal counsel.

"In spite of the nasty. In spite of the time it takes, I think real people have got to take back the state house," said McCullogh. "People who don't have a political agenda."

McCulloch is telling voters he would be a lawmaker who'd be able to work across party lines.

"You cannot begin to find a solution until people get over this--you're the wrong party, you're a bad person because you believe this or that," said McCulloch. "We've got to eliminate that from politics."

As a city councilman, Finlay built a reputation for pushing back, especially when it came to budget matters.

And he has this to say about his opponent's aim of building political bridges.

"If you ask me what I think we need at the state house, it's leadership," said Finlay. "Not consensus. Consensus as we saw at the city of Columbia, you know for five or six years. Budgets passed. No issue, no problem. They were bad budgets. But they had people working across the aisle in consensus."

Both Finlay and McCulloch are first-time state office-seekers.

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