Incumbent Coroner Rae Wooten, a Republican, appeared to be edging out her Democratic challenger, Henry Middleton.

Wooten had 54 percent while Middleton had 46 percent of the vote, with 43 of 185 precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.

This would mark the first time that Wooten has been elected to public office. Gov. Mark Sanford appointed Wooten coroner two years ago after her predecessor resigned. Wooten, a registered nurse, has been with the Coroner's Office for 13 years. She's on a state committee that investigates juvenile deaths and is a board-certified fellow with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, an independent professional certification board.

The coroner is responsible for investigating deadly shootings and fatal traffic accidents, suicides, overdose deaths and natural deaths outside the hospital. They must identify the dead, determine how they died and notify survivors.