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Runoffs set for Lt. Gov., state superintendent races

Posted: June 12, 2014 5:21 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Republicans will have to return to the polls on June 24 to determine the election for lieutenant governor and the party’s nominee for state superintendent of education. Democrats will also hold a runoff to determine that party’s nomination for state superintendent of education.

In the Republican primary for lieutenant governor, former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster will most likely face a runoff against fellow Republican Pat McKinney. However, election officials are set to recount votes for McKinney and Mike Campbell, the son of former Gov. Carroll Campbell.

McMaster received 115,628 votes statewide, 5,226 of them in Kershaw County. McKinney received 65,381 statewide votes, 1,603 of which were cast in Kershaw County. Campbell came in a close third with 62,460 votes from across South Carolina. Kershaw County voters favored Campbell over McKinney with 2,702 votes.

With no Democratic contenders, whomever wins the June 24 runoff will be the state’s new lieutenant governor.

Republicans will also need to recast votes for state superintendent of education, as none of that party’s eight candidates could garner more than 50 percent of the vote. The runoff will be between Molly Spearman, who received 57,518 votes statewide, with 1,966 in Kershaw County; and Sally Atwater, who garnered 55,381 votes statewide, including 1,478 in Kershaw County.

Kershaw County resident Sherri Few came in third in the Republican primary, but received the most votes in Kershaw County. She received 49,321 votes statewide, more than 19 percent of the vote. Few came in first in her home county with 4,104 votes.

Other Republican state superintendent candidates included Gary Burgess with 27,155 votes (707 in Kershaw County); Amy Cofield, 18,641 (356 in Kershaw County); Meka Childs, 17,441 (373); Elizabeth Moffly, 15,785 (319); and former Kershaw County resident Don Jordan, 13,718 (528).

Spearman or Atwater will face the winner of a Democratic runoff for state superintendent between Sheila Gallaher and Tom Thompson. Gallagher received 32,949 votes statewide, with 444 of them coming from Kershaw County. Thomspon received 24,567 votes statewide, including 294 in Kershaw County. Following up were Montrio Belton, 18,070 (250) and Jerry Govan, 13,998 (135).

Four other state races were determined in Tuedsay’s Republican primaries as there are no Democratic contenders for state treasurer, state adjutant general, state commissioner of agriculture and S.C. House of Representatives District 50.

Voters reelected Curtis Loftis as state treasurer with 160,277 votes, 5,303 of which were cast in Kershaw County. His challenger, Brian Adams, received 92,504 votes statewide, with 4,109 coming from Kershaw County.

Bob Livingston will remain the state’s adjutant general, defeating challenger James Breazele, 183,473 votes to 59,832. Livingston received 7,794 votes in Kershaw County; Breazele, 1,545.

Hugh Weathers will continue as state commissioner of agriculture. Weathers received 162,495 votes to be reelected, with 6,272 votes in Kershaw County. Challenger Joe Farmer received 86,931 votes, 3,340 of which were cast in Kershaw County.

Grady Brown will also stay in office as District 50’s representative to the S.C. House. Brown received 1,994 votes, including 32 votes in Kershaw County. Brian Alston received 1,468 votes statewide, 26 of which came from Kershaw County.

In federal races, Lindsey Graham fended off six contenders by an overwhelming margin for the Republican nomination for his U.S. Senate seat. Graham received 156,195 votes, with Kershaw County residents casting 6,828 of those votes. Lee Bright came in second with only 45,527 votes, 759 of which came from Kershaw County. Following Bright were Richard Cash, 23,031 (550 in Kershaw County); Det Bowers, 20,336 (808); Nancy Mace, 17,391 (772); Bill Connor, 13,903 (461); and Benjamin Dunn, 2,808 (138).

Graham will face Democrat Brad Hutto and Libertarian candidate Victor Kocher in the November general election. Kocher ran unopposed while Hutto beat Jay Stamper for the Democratic nomination. Hutto received 66,468 votes statewide, with 868 in Kershaw County. Stamper earned 21,524 votes statewide, 237 of those from Kershaw County.

South Carolina’s other U.S. senator, Tim Scott, won the Republican nomination for reelection, picking up 245,012 votes statewide, 7,989 of those from Kershaw County. Challenger Randall Young received 25,756 votes, with Kershaw County casting 1,756 of those.

Scott will face Democrat Joyce Dickerson, who won her party’s nomination with 57,772 votes, including 735 votes from Kershaw County. Following her were Sidney Moore, 19,646 (244); and Harry Pavilack, 9,337 (119).

Voters turned out in lower numbers for Tuesday’s primaries than those held four years ago when the same races were on the ballot. According to SCVotes.org, of the county’s 38,567 registered voters, 12,074 participated in Tuesday’s primaries, for a turnout of 31.31 percent.

A calculation of voters who went to the polls in the 2010 primaries show that of the county’s then 35,891 registered voters, 15,101 participated, for a nearly 42 percent turnout percentage. The difference may lie in the fact that neither candidate for governor -- incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley, nor Kershaw County’s Vincent Sheheen -- faced any challengers for their respective party’s nominations.

(Totals reported in this story are based on figures provided by the Kershaw County Voter Registration Office and listed on the state election commission’s website as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. These figures do not include provisional balloting and may not include all precincts from across the state.)

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