A sheriff's race in South Carolina has been marred by allegations of kidnapping, lying and stealing.

All four candidates have had to deny any wrongdoing: One is accused of trying to kidnap someone. A second is being investigated by state agents.

A third was an Oconee County sheriff's deputy until he was fired for allegedly lying on his time sheets. And the fourth was the No. 2 man at the sheriff's office when a former office manager stole more than a half million dollars forfeited by drug dealers.

Jeff Bright, an engineer who backed the ex-Secret Service agent facing the felony charge, called it a "travesty."

Sheriff is an important post in the state, where 65 percent of residents don't live in cities or towns — meaning they turn to sheriff's deputies for law enforcement.