WOULD-BE SENATORS HEADED TO APRIL 5 RUNOFF …
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 Gambrell – also 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.