Horry County Probate Judge Kathy Ward plans to leave the bench when her term ends later this year, meaning her judicial seat is wide open.
The two-term judge announced her retirement earlier this year.
So far, only one candidate has announced his candidacy for the position: Assistant Probate Judge Allen Beverly.
Beverly got the approval of a high-ranking Horry County official: 15th Circuit attorney Jimmy Richardson.
The county probate court hears cases involving wills, issues marriage licenses, and adjudicates estates of the deceased. The court also hears cases relating to the estates of minors and incompetent persons.
Beverly is running for the seat as a Republican. A lawyer by trade, Beverly grew up in Conway and is married with children. Ward hired him into his current role in 2019 after working in private practice for 15 years.
He also taught business law courses at Horry-Georgetown Technical College and served on the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
“Being a probate judge is a calling I am passionate about,” Beverly said in a press release. “The citizens of Horry County need a probate judge who is fair, understanding, knowledgeable, experienced and available for support and assistance during difficult times.”
Beverly praised Ward as “a great mentor and leader in this community.”
In her Beverly endorsement, Richardson praised Ward as one of a kind.
“There will never be another Judge Ward,” he said. “However, Allen Beverly studied with her as an Assistant Probate Judge and is poised to bring that same drive, compassion and honesty to Horry County.”
Beverly said he was “deeply humbled and honoured” and “incredibly grateful” for Richardson’s endorsement.
Other candidates could file to run the race. The election filing period opened on Wednesday and ends at the end of March.
Beverly retained the services of Donald Smith, a Conway-based political operative, to help with her campaign. Smith is also working with Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner and 7th Congressional District candidate and school board chairman Ken Richardson.
Voters head to the polls to vote for Congress, county president, school board president, probate judge and other positions on June 14 in the statewide primary election.