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Where They Stand: Candidates Vying For State's Top Job Debate Ahead of June Primary

Democratic candidates for Governor on debate stage May 24

The state’s primary election is June 12. All executive office positions are up for election as well as all seven seats of the US House of Representatives. The eight candidates vying for the state’s top job recently fielded questions on various topics during two, hour-long debates. Republicans debated May 23 and Democrats on May 24. Democratic candidates Phil Nobel, Marguerite Willis and James Smith answered questions on the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear power station, education, legalizing marijuana, protecting students from school shootings and more.

WACTH the entire Democratic Gubernatorial Debate, below.

Both debates were held at Clemson University and co-hosted by South Carolina ETV and the Post and Courier newspaper. Wednesday, all five Republican candidates debated for the first time (incumbent Henry McMaster, skipped two previous debates).  The candidates also answered questions about the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear Power station in Jenkinsville as well as creating hate crime laws and accepting funds from the NRA, here are some of their responses.

Republican candidates for Governor on debate stage May 23.
Republican candidates for Governor on debate stage May 23.

V.C. Summer

The Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station occupies a site near Jenkinsville in Fairfield County, about 20 miles outside of Columbia. July of 2017, SCE&G and Santee Cooper, the two owners of the site, announced they would stop construction of the two unfinished nuclear reactors. The project was originally expected to come online in 2018 and estimated to cost $11.5 billion. But at the time of the two owners’ announcement, officials estimated the reactors would not begin generating electricity before 2021 and would cost more than twice the initial estimate. The candidates were asked if legislators leave “this complex of issues unsettled,” when you take office in January, what’s you main goal and what’s your first step?

Creating Hate Crime Laws

South Carolina is one of only five states without its own law to fight hate crimes. These laws would stiffen penalties for crimes that occur because of someone’s gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. In December of 2016, Dylann Roof was convicted in federal court of 33 hate crime charges against him stemming from the murders of nine worshippers at a historically black church in Charleston. That conviction could only come from federal prosecutors because South Carolina does not have its own law against hate crimes. Candidates were asked if they supported the idea of "adding hate crime laws to the books."

Where They Stand: Republican candidates on if they support creating a hate crime law for South Carolina.

WATCH the entire Republican Gubernatorial debate, below.

South Carolina's primary election is June 12, candidates will meet again for a final debate June 4 and June 5 at the University of South Carolina.