Race to Watch: Brady, Bernstein for House District 78 - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Race to Watch: Brady, Bernstein for House District 78

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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

After stints as mayor of the Arcadia Lakes community where she still lives, and on Richland County Council, Joan Brady won a seat in the South Carolina House.

Today, she is determined to hold onto it.

"I am a very strong and an influential voice within the GOP dominated general assembly," said Brady. "So yes, it is important that we maintain that voice."

Brady is a Republican representing House District 78.

Her Democratic opponent is attorney and first-time candidate Beth Bernstein.

"I've walked close to four thousand doors, knocked on four thousand doors and the recurrent theme that is prevalent in everybody I've talked to is frustration and mistrust of the people who represent us," said Bernstein.

Brady is likely far more familiar to people in and outside her district. Not only has she held public office for 15 years. She is a former WIS-TV personality.

But Bernstein has made the race competitive, gathering endorsements from prominent figures including Richland Senator Joel Lourie, who once held the same House seat.  Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has also backed Bernstein.

Both women have made ethics reform one of their top talking points.

"I am delighted that there has been a newfound consciousness for ethics and we're going to take all this information and we're going to come out with solid reform," said Brady.

"I've proposed a seven point plan that has some real ethics reform in it," said Bernstein. "We need to have more transparency, more accountability."

Brady says she has a proven ability to garner support from groups not normally linked with conservatives. Among them, the South Carolina Education Association and conservation groups.

Brady and GOP leaders have tried to portray Bernstein as a voice for the state's trial lawyers.  It's a charge Bernstein tried to deflect this week.

"It also shows that they're scared. And they're using bullying tactics instead of discussing real issues," said Bernstein.

"She's a liberal democrat trial lawyer period," said Brady. "Backed by the state Democratic Party."

Bernstein insisted earlier this week she is not a trial lawyer; that she does mainly probate and real estate law. Brady says Bernstein's resume shows she's a member of the Trial Lawyers Association.

The question for voters, is that really an issue they care about?

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