Sen. Kevin Johnson said he plans to work "twice as hard" as he did four years ago in retaining the South Carolina State Senate District 36 seat he initially won in 2012.
Johnson was the sole Democrat to file for the office and will face no opposition in June's primary. He said Wednesday that, instead, he will look toward his opposition in the November general election, Republican the Rev. Leon Winn.
Winn, a Sumter resident and minister with Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Manning, was one of four candidates, and the sole Republican, to run for the seat in 2012. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2014 as a Republican for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by James Clyburn.
Johnson said though he won in 2012 with 60 percent of the vote, "that was then and this is now."
"We are not taking anything for granted," he said.
Senate District 36 represents all of Clarendon County, a significant portion of Sumter County and small portions of Darlington and Florence counties.
Johnson started his life in public service as a member of the Clarendon School District 2 Board of Trustees, and was then elected to Manning City Council in 1994. He served as mayor from 2000 until 2011, when he was elected to fill the remainder of the late Rep. Cathy Harvin's term in the South Carolina House of Representatives.
When Sen. John Land announced his intention to retire in early 2012 after nearly 40 decades with the state Senate, he tapped Johnson as his replacement. Land said at the time that he could think of no better person to follow in his footsteps.
Johnson told The Manning Times in 2012 that his campaigns are always "team efforts."
He said in an email to supporters that 2016 would be no different.