COLUMBIA - Sally Atwater and Molly Spearman have advanced to the runoff in the eight-way Republican primary for South Carolina's superintendent of education.

According to unofficial returns, Atwater and Spearman each received about 22 percent of the vote Tuesday to become the biggest vote-getters.

A runoff between Atwater and Spearman will be held on June 24 to determine the Republican nomination for the state's schools superintendent.

Spearman is 60 and the executive director of the state Association of School Administrators and lives in Saluda. Atwater is a 63-year-old native of Union and a former special needs teacher of Colleton County. Her late husband was GOP strategist Lee Atwater.

In Tuesday's Democratic primary, Sheila Gallagher has advanced to a runoff for South Carolina's chief educator.

Gallagher unofficially received 36 percent of the vote Tuesday night. She will most likely face Tom Thompson in a run-off.

The 60-year-old Gallagher is the former president of the South Carolina Education Association.

Gallagher endorses the idea of allowing South Carolinians to vote on legalizing marijuana and using taxes raised from its sales to fund public education.

Republican Superintendent of Education Mick Zais announced at the end of last year that he would not run for re-election.