Hundley’s narrow Senate 41 win upheld

Walter Hundley, a Charleston lawyer and candidate in the May 29 GOP special primary election for the Senate 41 seat. PROVIDED

Republican Walter Hundley’s narrow win in the special District 41 Senate race survived Friday’s consideration of challenged ballots and a recount.

Hundley had a 14-vote lead over Democrat Paul Tinkler after all the votes were tallied in the special election Tuesday, but 21 challenged ballots could have swayed the outcome.

When Charleston County election officials met Friday to decide which ones to count and which to discard, Hundley’s margin stood.

Hundley said the result is another example of how every vote counts.

“Maybe some good comes out of that alone,” he said.

Tinkler commended the county election board on the hearing. “I’m satisfied it was handled properly,” he said. “I congratulated Walter Hundley and shook his hand.”

Tinkler said he believed he would win, but last-minute negative mailings distorted his image, record and likely swayed the result.

“It proves voters still respond to that,” he said.

The District 41 seat, which stretches from Kiawah and Seabrook islands to James Island and West Ashley, had been held for more than 30 years by Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who resigned his Senate seat after former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned and pleaded guilty to ethics violations.

Hundley said Friday he expects to be sworn in sometime after the state certifies the result Monday afternoon. He likely will serve only until mid-November, when the winner of the Nov. 6 District 41 race will be sworn in.

Tinkler is facing Republican Paul Thurmond in that race, but Hundley and Charleston businessman Wally Burbage also could run as independents.

While he didn’t win this week, Tinkler said, “This special election bodes well for me winning in November.”

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.