Pinckney, Bessinger face off in South Carolina Senate race - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Pinckney, Bessinger face off in SC District 45 race

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BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

Long time Democratic state representative and now state senator Clementa Pinckney will be taking on Republican and political newcomer Leilani Bessinger in the South Carolina District 45 race.

Bessinger grew up in a military family, settling in to Beaufort four decades ago. She is a paralegal in a Beaufort law firm and she and her husband also have a small farming operation. Among her key issues, deregulating small business in hopes of creating more jobs, reforming education funding and term limits for all elected officials. She is married with three sons and several grandchildren. She also served for years as a college wrestling official.

Pinckney is a Ridgeland native and has been a religious leader all of his life. His first pastor appointment was at the age of 18. He is now the pastor at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, but still lives in Ridgeland. He holds degrees in business administration and public administration. He also has a masters in divinity. He started his political career as a state representative 16 years ago, moving to the senate four years later. He is married and has two children.

The winner will represent District 45 in the South Carolina Senate. The area includes parts of Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Allendale, Colleton and Charleston counties.

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