Bensch, Duryea vying for new Beaufort County Council seat

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Bensch, Duryea vying for new Beaufort County Council seat

By CASEY CONLEY
cconley@islandpacket.com
Published Monday, October 22, 2012   |  576 Words  |  
Two people with different backgrounds and platforms seek to hold elective office for the first time, in the newly drawn Beaufort County Council District 7.

Republican nominee Cynthia Bensch, 68, of Rose Hill was unopposed in the June 12 GOP primary. That's because her opponent, Forrest "Dan" Duryea, 63, of Rose Hill was bumped from the primary after filing a financial disclosure form late.

Duryea says he is a Republican and is on the ballot as a petition candidate.

District 7 was redrawn after the 2010 Census and now includes the Bluffton-Okatie area south of U.S. 278, west of S.C. 170 and north of S.C. 46. Rose Hill, Hampton Hall, Hampton Lake and most of Buckwalter are in the district.

THE CANDIDATES

Bensch is retired after working 30 years for Bensch-Mark Builders & Developers. She served a four-year term on the S.C. Election Commission and has held leadership positions with the Beaufort County Republican Party.

No other candidates will appear on the ballot.

This marks Duryea's first run for elective office. Bensch twice lost bids for a Beaufort County Council seat by margins of 40 points or greater, dropping a special-election Republican primary to Tom Taylor in 1997 and a regular primary in a 1998 rematch.

THE ISSUES

Bensch, who cites her private-sector experience as an asset, wants to streamline the development-review process to spur growth and new jobs. She wants to privatize the county's landscaping and road-maintenance services and calls for a "strategic plan" to provide water and sewer service and remove and replace septic tanks that are old and inoperative.

She does not support the $25 million Rural and Critical Lands program bond question on this year's ballot. If elected, she pledges to review Bluffton Parkway Phase 5B realignment proposals to "determine what is best for the citizens of Beaufort County."

Duryea supports the bond referendum, noting that land preservation has been an American ideal since the 1870s. He believes recycling should be mandatory and that proof of residency should be required at all of the county's 11 convenience centers. He supports new efforts, such as the construction of underground retention ponds, to protect local waterways from runoff and pollution.

He opposes the proposed Bluffton Parkway realignment, calling it a waste of taxpayers' money that could be spent on other projects. If elected, he wants to attract more health care and technical jobs to the county.

THE CAMPAIGN

Duryea said supporters are helping spread the word about his candidacy inside several gated communities. He also plans to install yard signs and distribute fliers before the election. He is also reminding supporters they must check his name, not simply vote a straight Republican ticket.

"That is a key issue for me," he said. "The signage and fliers I hope are going to help with that."

Bensch declined to discuss her campaign tactics as the election nears.

According to financial filings, neither candidate has raised much money. Bensch says she is self-funding her campaign, while Duryea's Oct. 21 filing with the S.C. Ethics Commission lists $267 in contributions.

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