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Two Candidates Emerge In Upstate SC Senate Race




Two candidates emerged from from a “Republican” primary election for a S.C. Senate seat in the rural Palmetto Upstate this week.  The seat became vacant in January upon the death of Billy O’Dell – a fiscally liberal former Democrat who had held the office since 1988.

S.C. Rep. Mike Gambrellalso a fiscal liberal – won 45.5 percent of the vote in the primary election, easily eclipsing the 31.9 percent received by Rockey Burgess, a town councilman from Williamston.

Greenwood attorney Tripp Padgett finished in third place with 14 percent of the vote – the vast majority of his total coming from his home county. Two other candidates finished in single digits.

Because no candidate received a majority of the votes in the special primary election, a runoff race between the top two finishers – Gambrell and Burgess – will be held in two weeks time (on April 5).  The winner of that contest will be the Senator-elect seeing as no Democrat chose to file for the post.

S.C. Senate District 4 (map here) includes parts of Abbeville, Anderson and Greenwood counties.  It is a heavily gerrymandered district that crosses multiple county borders to incorporate more heavily populated areas.

Only eight percent of registered voters in the district participated in the special primary election.