Marlon Kimpson defeats Maurice Washington in Senate 42 runoff

Marlon Kimpson (left) and Maurice Washington

Democratic voters in Tuesday’s Senate District 42 runoff strongly sided with the candidate backed by their party’s leaders.

Charleston lawyer Marlon Kimpson won by a 7-3 margin over former Charleston City Councilman Maurice Washington, according to unofficial results.

The outcome was no surprise, given Kimpson’s strong fundraising lead and his 2-1 edge over Washington in the Aug. 13 six-way Democratic primary. Kimpson received about 900 more votes Tuesday than he did two weeks ago. Turnout was very similar — about 7 percent

Kimpson also was boosted by endorsements from local Democratic lawmakers, all four defeated Democratic Senate candidates and Charleston County Democratic Party Chair Richard Hricik, who abandoned the chair’s normally neutral role and urged Democrats to pick Kimpson over Washington.

Washington drew Hricik’s fire because of his previous runs as a Republican and his support, financial and otherwise, of Republican candidates.

Hricik faced pointed criticism from Washington and others, but State Democratic Chair Jamie Harrison recently defended Hricik, saying, “We have complete faith in his service. … He is a good Democrat fighting for the best interest of all.”

The candidates’ loyalty to the Democratic party was one of the main issues in the runoff. Kimpson, a former first vice chair of the State Democratic Party, touted his faithfulness to the party. Washington said his ability to reach across the aisle would make him more effective in the state’s Republican-dominated Legislature.

The Senate race was spurred by Robert Ford’s decision in May to resign the Senate seat he had held for two decades. Ford still faces possible charges for misusing his campaign funds.

Kimpson will face Republican Billy Shuman, a real estate agent, and Libertarian candidate Alex Thornton, a photographer, in the special Oct. 1 election.

As a Democrat, Kimpson will be a strong favorite this fall, given the way the district is drawn. It includes parts of West Ashley, peninsula Charleston and North Charleston and is 62 percent black.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.

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