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SC Senate Judiciary Chairman Luke Rankin Wins Primary Runoff

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Senate judiciary chairman Luke Rankin – whom our founding editor Will Folks recently referred to as “the personification of South Carolina’s failed tax-and-spend status quo and the lead architect of its most costly command economic failure” – just won his bid for an eighth term representing S.C. Senate District 33 (.pdf).

With all precincts reporting in Horry county, Rankin drew 58.4 percent of the vote (6,222 ballots) compared to 41.59 percent (4,430 ballots) for rival John Gallman.

Rankin has been in office for 27 years – including eleven years as a Democrat.

In a three-way primary race for this seat on June 9, 2020, Rankin drew an anemic 40.2 percent of the GOP primary vote (4,915 ballots) compared to 34.4 percent (4,210 ballots) for Gallman and 25.4 percent (3,105) for challenger Carter Smith.

The election could have had seismic ramifications across the Palmetto political landscape considering Rankin’s tremendous influence at the S.C. State House. In addition to his powerful perch as Senate judiciary chairman, Rankin is a member of numerous panels – including the legislative commission that screens judicial candidates and a key energy industry review committee.

The most fiscally liberal GOP member of the S.C. General Assembly, Rankin was on the receiving end of a massive special interest campaign – one hellbent on preserving his powerful perch at the S.C. State House in Columbia, S.C.

“If Rankin gets another term in office, expect him to continue serving those interests (and himself),” we wrote last month. “Not his constituents. And certainly not the people of South Carolina.”

Prior to tonight, Rankin said if he’s re-elected he’ll work to get Horry County’s economy back up and running again. He also said that roads and schools remain a focus, noting he’s already helped pass education reform.

In response to this, his now-defeated challenger remarked, “you’ve had someone who’s had 27 years to fix the roads and he hasn’t fixed the roads.”

With no Democrats (well, other than Rankin) seeking this office, the winner of tonight’s race will be a virtual lock to claim this office in November.

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Banner: Columbia SC Photographer Travis Bell

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