Hundley suspends his Senate 41 campaign
District 41 Sen. Walter Hundley said Friday he has suspended his campaign, apparently paving the way for former Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond to be the GOP nominee on Nov. 6.
Hundley and Thurmond ran against each other Tuesday in a special three-way GOP primary for the seat formerly held by Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell.
Thurmond and Hundley came in first and second, respectively, defeating Charleston businessman Wally Burbage. Thurmond and Hundley will meet again in an Oct. 2 run-off.
Hundley said he will shut down his phone bank and won’t send out any more letters. “I’m stepping away,” he said.
Thurmond said Hundley’s decision won’t change his plans much, and he will continue to campaign hard to win on Oct. 2. “In any race, you either don’t run or you run scared,” he said.
Hundley said he reached his decision following Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the special primary. He said GOP officials agree Thurmond is an eligible candidate.
“The Democrats have caused too much confusion and fighting within the Republican Party up to this time,” Hundley said Friday. “I believe that we must focus our efforts on the November election to keep Senate District 41 a Republican seat.”
However, the S.C. Supreme Court is being asked to revisit the case. Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, the lawyer who has questioned Thurmond’s eligibility and the special primary, filed Friday for a rehearing.
Whoever wins the Nov. 6 GOP primary will face Democrat and former Charleston City Councilman Paul Tinkler on Nov. 6.
Tinkler, who narrowly lost to Hundley in a July special election to fill the final months of McConnell’s term, said he’ll run against whomever is nominated. “I think I’m the best man for the job,” he said.
The race is high profile not only because it’s an open seat but also because the winner could determine if Republicans or Democrats control the Charleston County legislative delegation, which makes appointments to many local governing boards.
Despite Hundley’s decision, the Oct. 2 GOP run-off will still take place, Charleston County elections director Joe Debney said Friday.
“Unless he (Hundley) formally withdraws, his name will be on the ballot,” Debney said.