Turno challenges Barton for auditor

When long-serving Aiken County Auditor Cyrus Spradley resigned earlier this summer, his seat was immediately filled by an interim appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley. Now the office is up for grabs, and two Aiken area natives have thrown their hats into the ring.

The auditor's responsibilities include the taxation of personal property, such as motor homes, campers, trailers, motorcycles, watercraft and watercraft motors, merchant's furniture, fixtures and equipment, aircraft and manufacturer's real and personal property. It is a four-year term concurrent with the fiscal year.

The winner will take office in July.

District 6 Aiken County Councilman Charles Barton, a Republican, said he's running to ensure that the state's system of checks and balances in the tax office of Aiken County protects both the taxpayer and the county.

"These checks and balances prevent taxing offices from becoming too powerful and abusive of their authority," he said.

Daniel Turno, who announced his write-in candidacy late last week, waded into the race feeling no seat should go uncontested. He said he would like to bring new ideas to the office.

"The auditor's position is a public service position. I would be a liaison between the public and Aiken County," Turno said. "I understand when people come in with a bill, and they're upset. I would listen to their problems and not be authoritative. I am coming from more of a customer relations aspect. I am a people person; I like to help people. I expect to attend every County Council meeting."

For much of the race, Barton has run unopposed but has been book-ended by opposition early in the race and again when Turno stepped in as a write-in.

Earlier this year, Silver Bluff High School media specialist Jason Goings was running against Barton, but, like hundreds of other candidates in the state, he was decertified and forced to run as a write-in.

He then switched over to a write-in for treasurer, leaving Barton unopposed until Turno entered the race.

Turno said he wanted to give voters a choice.

"As a Republican, I didn't see the need to run against Charles Barton," Turno said. Then, Goings, who initially filed to run for auditor, was kicked off the primary ballot and, just a few weeks ago, declared his write-in candidacy for treasurer. "I don't believe any Democratic election should run unopposed. I don't believe in a one-person race."

Although Turno is Barton's sole opposition, his name will not appear on the ballot.

If a person wishes to vote for Turno, the voter must tap "write-in" under the title "Auditor." A standard QWERTY keyboard will appear on the screen, and the voter must type in Turno's name. If the voter wishes to vote for Barton, he must check the box by his name.

Barton said he will resign his seat as the representative for District 6 on the Aiken County Council if he is elected.

He has served two full terms and is halfway through a third on council.

Turno is an investigator for Sears Holding Corp., a 25-year veteran of the S.C. Highway Patrol and has served in the U.S. military - active duty for four years and five years with National Guard.

Barton owns Barton Radiator & Electric.

He said his wife Lynette and son Chuck Barton will run Barton Radiator & Electric if he is elected.