Primary runoffs for 3 legislative seats
COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s primary runoffs will determine party nominees to fill the slots of two legislators not seeking re-election and one Senate chairman toppled in a five-way primary.
Tuesday’s three legislative runoff elections will determine the Republican nominee vying to replace retiring Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter; the Democrat likely to replace Rep. Boyd Brown, D-Winnsboro, who’s stepping down after two terms; and the Republican taking the seat from Senate Banking Committee Chairman David Thomas, R-Greenville.
Thomas, a seven-term veteran first elected in 1984, came in third in a five-way GOP primary June 12.
Fewer than 70 votes separated first-place finisher Joe Swann from second-place Ross Turner. Swann, founder of Greenville-based Integrated Power Services, received 27.4 percent of 7,360 votes cast. Turner, president of a Greenville insurance agency, received 26.7 percent.
Thomas received 20.5 percent.
His was the most contested race of any incumbent. In a year when all 170 legislative seats are up for election, just nine senators and 14 House members faced primary challengers. That included four Democratic House members forced to run against each other for two seats from districts collapsed during once-a-decade redistricting due to shrinking populations.
Thomas was among six incumbents ousted in the primaries. The winner of that primary runoff faces no Democrat in November.
Tony Barwick and Wade Kolb will face off for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat held by Leventis that mostly represents Sumter County. Barwick, a real estate developer, came in first in a three-way primary, with 49 percent of the vote, followed by 45 percent for Kolb, a former solicitor for the court circuit encompassing Sumter, Lee, Clarendon and Williamsburg counties.
The winner will face Democrat Thomas McElveen in November. Leventis, a former fighter pilot and retired brigadier general known for his use of filibusters, is retiring after 32 years in the Senate.
Five Democrats ran for the seat being vacated by 25-year-old Brown.
Fairfield County School Board member Annie McDaniel placed first in the primary with 37 percent of the vote, followed by 28 percent for MaryGail Douglas, executive director of the Fairfield County Council on Aging. The winner of that runoff has no Republican opposition in November.
Just 34 House and Senate districts gave voters a primary choice on either the Republican or Democratic sides.
Dozens of legislative candidates were removed from the ballot after last month’s state Supreme Court ruling on improperly filed paperwork. The high court ruled those seeking office had to turn in financial disclosure forms at the same time they filed their intention to run.
Following the ballot dust-up, 105 incumbents will be easily re-elected without any major-party opposition this year.
The ousting of candidates means four House seats — representing portions of York, Berkeley and Horry counties — have no major-party candidate, paving the way for a historic number of petition candidate victories for legislative seats.