House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn easily won the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary for the seat he's held in Washington since 1992.

The Republican who'll challenge him in November is still to be decided.

Clyburn, a close ally of the White House — and the state's most visible Democrat — was declared one of the earliest winners of the night Tuesday, turning back long-shot Gregory Brown, a telecommunications businessman from the Columbia area who was making his first try at elected office.

With 99 percent of the votes counted, Clyburn held a commanding lead, capturing 90.1 percent of the returns to Brown's 9.9 percent, according to unofficial results.

Clyburn issued a statement saying he was humbled by the turnout and was gearing up to be back in Washington as part of the 112th Congress.

'Much remains to be done and I hope to continue working with President Barack Obama, the Democrats in Congress and willing Republicans to move our great country in a new direction,' he said.

Brown had tried to turn the campaign into a battle over Clyburn's longevity in D.C., and the poverty and unemployment in the 6th District. But he never found a way to make the race competitive for a congressional seat that includes parts of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and Colleton counties.

On the Republican side, the three-way fight for the right to take on Clyburn in the fall was headed toward a likely runoff. St. Matthews businessman Jim Pratt led the field outright but was followed by Nancy Harrelson of Marion, who unsuccessfully challenged Clyburn in 2008.

With 99 percent of the returns in, unofficial results showed Pratt with 48.9 percent of the vote, followed by Harrelson at 42.1 percent.

The third-place GOP hopeful, Columbia businesswoman Colleen Payne, trailed out of contention with 9.1 percent of the vote.

If no candidate captures better than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be held June 22.