3 candidates join race for 11th Circuit Solicitor

Published: Mar. 25, 2016 at 3:20 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2016 at 9:38 AM EDT
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Candice Lively (Source: Candice Lively)
Candice Lively (Source: Candice Lively)
Rick Hubbard (Source: WIS)
Rick Hubbard (Source: WIS)

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The race is heating up to replace a troubled Midlands prosecutor.

Solicitor Donnie Myers is accused of driving drunk when he crashed his car a month ago. He's charged with DUI, and he now says he will not run for reelection. So far three candidates have filed to replace him.

All three have some similarities, but there are differences too. All acknowledged that the 11th Circuit Solicitor's Office, which prosecutes cases in Lexington, Saluda, Edgefield, and McCormick counties, will benefit from new leadership.

First, there's long-time prosecutor Rick Hubbard.

"I know that job demands experience, and I'm the one guy who has it both as a prosecutor who's tried the most complicated cases a prosecutor could face, but also, I've managed that office. I've managed it for quite a while," Hubbard said.

Hubbard has recently worked with the Attorney General's Office. He's worked with Myers, too, and says he has nothing but respect for the outgoing solicitor's record in the courtroom.

"The issues outside of the office are strictly for him to handle, and I have confidence he will," Hubbard said.

Hubbard said he's the only candidate who's tried a death penalty case and said he'll work to decrease the delay in bringing cases to court.

"A leader is someone who can go in and prioritize those resources, and that's what I've done," he explained.

Next, there's Larry Wedekind, a veteran with decades of courtroom experience here and abroad.

"I thought it was time to restore honor, dignity, and respect to the Solicitor's Office," Wedekind said.

Wedekind said he planned to run, even before Myers decided to call it quits after this final term.

"Because I just felt the office was going to be compromised on the particularity of DUI cases," Wedekind said. "I just don't know how any assistant solicitor or Donnie himself could walk in front of a jury when there was a victim of a DUI death or even your first or second offenses."

He said he'd attack the circuit's big caseload and the delay in getting some cases to trial.

"One of the things I'd like to do is lobby to get from the legislature funding for more prosecutors," Wedekind said.

Finally, there's Candice Lively.

"That's exactly what I want to do is bring a breath of fresh air to Lexington County and to all of the counties that I would represent -- Edgefield, McCormick, and Saluda," Lively said.

Lively works at the Children's Law Center at USC and has courtroom experience in Horry County.

"These cases take too long," she said. "They have to get into the court system. These children need to be able to move on. It shouldn't take two or three years for their cases to be tried."

She said she'd bring a more personal, hands-on approach to the 11th Circuit.

"People feel like lawyers don't care. We don't call people back. We don't involve them in what's going on," Lively said. "That's the same thing for trial lawyers and solicitors. You have to talk to people. You have to be open, and you've got to let them be part of the process."

All three candidates say they support the death penalty.

Filing for this position closes at noon March 31.

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