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#SCRunoffs: Rex Rice Defeats Larry Martin




Former S.C. Rep. Rex Rice defeated powerful S.C. Senate judiciary committee chairman Larry Martin in a battle of dueling status quos in the Palmetto Upstate.

With all but three Pickens county precincts reporting, Rice won 6,010 votes (54 percent) compared to Martin’s 5,076 votes (46 percent) to claim the “Republican” nomination for S.C. Senate District 2 (map here).

Two weeks ago, Martin got 45 percent of the vote to Rice’s 33 percent in a four-way primary race.  Because no candidate received a majority of the ballots cast, the top two finishers advanced to a head-to-head runoff election.

Rice’s victory was a major defeat for S.C. governor Nikki Haley – who endorsed Martin and campaigned extensively on his behalf.

Meanwhile it was a major victory for the political empire of neo-Confederate “Republican” consultant Richard Quinn, which will see one of its clients – liberal S.C. Senator Luke Rankin of Horry County – elevated to Martins’ post as judiciary chairman.

Will it change the ideological direction of the uber-liberal State Senate?

No … not even a little bit.

Martin was a fiscal liberal during his two-and-a-half decades in the chamber, while Rice was a fiscal liberal during his sixteen years in the S.C. House from 1994-2010.