COLUMBIA, S.C. (Queen City News) – When the polls closed in Chesterfield County last November, school board member Kimberly Burch could begin celebrating her fourth term. She had no opposition going into election day.

But the final ballot count shows 11 votes went to a write-in candidate while Burch walked away with 945 votes. She was sworn into office in January by her husband, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Paul Burch. 2023 marks her 17th year on the school board.

Chesterfield County School board member Kimberly Burch leaves an executive session during a meeting on Sept. 12, 2022. Burch also holds a gubernatorial appointment on the Northeastern Technical College board. (WJXY Photo/Jody Barr)

Judge Burch, elected by the SC legislature to his judgeship in 1991 is the longest-serving circuit court judge in the state. The judge was a sitting SC House member when he took the bench. His wife took over her husband’s House seat that year, finishing the remainder of his term.

Burch, though, did not win the election when her husband’s House term ended in 1992.

Kimberly Burch’s school board seat isn’t the only position of power she holds in Chesterfield County.

For a quarter-century, Kimberly Burch has held a seat on the Northeastern Technical College board. Appointed in 1997 by then-Governor David Beasley, Burch’s term expired in 1999, but she was never reappointed to the board. She’s spent the past 25 years as a holdover appointee.

Our ‘Positions of Power’ investigation delves into whether Burch can hold seats on both governing boards, potentially violating what’s known as the dual-office prohibition tucked inside the South Carolina constitution. The ban’s existed since Reconstruction, a ban that bars public officials from holding two offices of “honor or profit at the same time.”

Multiple SC Attorney General’s Office opinions show Burch is likely violating the ban and a letter from the governor’s office sent in response to our investigation shows the governor’s legal team also believes Burch is violating the ban by holding two positions of power.