If you don’t participate in democracy, you shouldn’t complain about government. So if you haven’t already voted absentee, make sure to head to the polls June 9 for the Democratic or Republican primary elections. We asked local candidates to fill out a six-question survey. If they did, we considered their qualifications and now offer these primary endorsements:

Federal seats

In the race for the Palmetto State’s important U.S. Senate seat, we wish we could go ahead now and vote for Orangeburg’s Jaime Harrison, a Democrat. He’s the best man for the job. But if you’re voting Republican, despite his pandering and support for President Donald Trump, the incumbent Lindsey Graham has continued to deliver for South Carolina.

In the GOP primary for the 1st Congressional District, you should pick Mount Pleasant Council member Kathy Landing, who has mostly focused on local issues like fixing flooding, instead of trying to cozy up to a deplorable president.

State races

In Democratic House contests, incumbents Wendell Gilliard (District 111) and Marvin Pendarvis (District 113) continue to be progressive leaders with eyes toward righting long-term wrongs. Pendarvis is an up-and-comer who needs to continue his service in Columbia. East Cooper voters should pick conservationist David Quick as the nominee in District 112. Folly Beach and James Island voters would do well with Folly Beach administrator Spencer Wetmore as the area’s new state representative. We also support Millicent Middleton in District 116 to build communities in the southern part of the county. In District 99 which stretches from Daniel Island to Mount Pleasant, we believe Jen Gibson‘s commitment to education reform makes her the best candidate. Deon Tedder is a good pick in District 109.

Democrats in West Ashley and James Island would do well to pick Sam Skardon, a former aide and protege of legendary Georgia Congressman John Lewis, as their candidate for the District 41 S.C. Senate seat. In District 44, we encourage voters to back Debbie Chatman Bryant for her passion about protecting public health.

Republican voters should back experienced leaders in four area S.C. House races: Incumbent William Cogswell (District 110) for Charleston and part of Mount Pleasant; current Isle of Palms Council member Ryan Buckhannon (District 112); former Charleston City Council member Kathleen Wilson (District 115) for James Island; and former state Rep. Bill Crosby (District 117) for the North Area. Each knows local issues and will put them at the forefront of their focus. In two open seats, we endorse two lawyers: Gil Gatch in House District 94, which mostly is in Dorchester County, and Chris Staubes for District 99, which covers Daniel Island and Mount Pleasant. In the open state Senate District 44 seat, Republicans should tap Goose Creek Council member Gayla McSwain for her focus on investing in infrastructure.

County races

Charleston County Council is dysfunctional, hampered by years of coziness and ineffective leadership. That’s why it’s important for voters to pick new faces committed to change. In District 3, we endorse Democratic candidate Rob Wehrman, a North Charleston public defender, for his commitment to practical politics to help people. In District 6, the Rev. Kylon Middleton, a Democrat, will deliver much-needed strong, moral leadership for West Ashley and North Charleston. We are not endorsing in other County Council races. In the Democratic race for coroner, we suggest voting for first responder Frank Broccolo.

We asked the candidates about why you should vote for them. Read their responses here.