7th district races highlight Tuesdays SC primary runoffs
COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s primary season comes to an end Tuesday with a handful of runoff elections.
The biggest race is in the state’s new 7th congressional district, where both Republicans and Democrats have runoffs.
The GOP race pits former Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer against Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice. Bauer won 32 percent while Rice received 27 percent in June 12 voting involving nine candidates.
In TV ads, Bauer said Rice is a “moderate” who will raise taxes. Rice’s wife took to the airwaves in a radio ad to suggest that electing Bauer to Congress would come back to embarrass the state.
Rice has also questioned whether Bauer has the district’s best interest in mind, saying Bauer is a political opportunist who has moved four times in 12 years — from Columbia to Newberry, back to Columbia and now to Myrtle Beach — just to pursue whatever job is open.
Bauer said Rice is an elitist who will only care about rich people in Myrtle Beach instead of the district as a whole, which stretches from Florence to the beach.
On the Democratic side, Coastal Carolina University professor Gloria Bromell Tinubu will try to secure the nomination again. The state Election Commission declared Bromell Tinubu the winner a few days after the June 12 primary after deciding not to count the votes from candidate Ted Vick, who dropped out after a driving-under-the-influence arrest in late May. But a judge ruled Friday those votes must be counted, dropping Bromell Tinubu’s primary total to 49 percent, shy of the 50 percent plus one voted needed to avoid a runoff. She will face Horry County lawyer Preston Brittain.
Bromell Tinubu’s surge has been a surprise. She has the backing of unions and progressives, while Brittain is backed by establishment Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn and former Gov. Jim Hodges.
Three Legislative races will also have runoffs. Voters will choose Republican nominees for state Senate seats in Sumter and Greenville counties, and the Democratic nominee for a state House seat that includes Fairfield County.
Extremely low turnout is expected. Less than 12 percent of voters turned out statewide for the primaries earlier this month, and turnout traditionally drops by one-third to one-half for runoffs in South Carolina. Bauer told supporters at a rally this week the winner in his race might get less than 10,000 votes.