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Dorchester County vote totals affirm Nancy Mace victory over Joe Cunningham

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Democrats hoped for gains in SC in 2020 but lost more ground (copy)

Republican Nancy Mace talks to supporters during her election-night party Tuesday. The extended ballot count in Dorchester County confirmed Mace's victory over Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham. Mic Smith/AP

SUMMERVILLE — The extended ballot count in Dorchester County confirmed Nancy Mace's victory over Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham.

Officials finished the count Thursday afternoon, giving Mace a narrow win of 1.26 percent, enough to avoid a mandatory recount if the difference was 1 percent or less.

The number county gave Mace 50.58 percent of the vote, to Cunningham's 49.32 percent.

Mace had 215,323 votes to Cunningham's 209,964. There were 442 write-ins.

Cunningham has not commented since the election. He has called a press conference for 10 a.m Friday at the Custom House in Charleston where he is expected to concede.

Dorchester County had more than 14,000 absentee ballots not included in the original count on election night because of a printing error. Cunningham's campaign had been waiting for the final votes in hopes that it would hand the Democratic incumbent a victory. 

Contested and provisional ballots still need to be counted, but Dorchester County election officials believe it won't be enough to change the results. 

The Associated Press called Mace’s win at 2 a.m. Wednesday when she carried a more than 10,000-vote lead and 51 percent of the electorate. While the amount tightened to less than 6,000 on Thursday, Mace, a Republican state representative from Daniel Island, said she was still happy to have carried the district overall. 

"Humbled to serve the Lowcountry, a place where I grew up and a place where I call home," Mace said Thursday. "Ready to get to work!"

Mace secured more votes than Cunningham had against his 2018 opponent, Katie Arrington.

Mace is the first female to win the 1st District seat and will become South Carolina’s first woman in Congress since Democrat Liz Patterson represented the Greenville area beginning in the late 1980s.

"I also want to thank Congressman Cunningham and his family for their service to South Carolina," Mace said. "Being in elected office is not easy and the sacrifices one makes to serve, and their family, are enormous."

All the local county results in South Carolina will begin the process of being certified as official on Friday.

Other races affected by the added Dorchester count cleared up Thursday as well.

In Senate District 41 covering Charleston and Dorchester counties, incumbent Republican Sandy Senn had 50.84 percent to Sam Skardon's 49.08.

In House District 114, incumbent Republican Rep. Lin Bennett had 53 percent of the vote to Ed Sutton's 44 percent. Alliance Party candidate Brad Jayne had 3 percent. 

The only recount set to occur following the manual count is in the Dorchester District 2 School Board race. Incumbents Evan Guthrie, an attorney, and Lisa H Tupper, vice president of G Tupper III Construction, will see a recount for the third and final open board seat.

Guthrie had 13.98 percent and Tupper had 13.81 percent.

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5713. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

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