Democrats picked up a Charleston-area seat in the state House of Representatives after Spencer Wetmore won Tuesday's special election for a district anchored on James Island.
With all precincts reporting, Wetmore led Republican Josh Stokes by a 59 percent to 39 percent margin in their House District 115 race, according to unofficial returns.
Green Party candidate Eugene Platt was third with about 1 percent. Some 6,165 votes were cast. The tallies will be certified later this week.
If the results hold, the number of Democrats in the 124-member state House will move to 45, flipping a Charleston seat that had historically been strong Republican.
"The residents of James Island, Folly Beach, Kiawah and Seabrook deserve a leader who is going to put party labels aside, listen to the experts on pandemic response, protect our coastline and our healthcare, improve our public schools and put the Lowcountry first," she said afterward.
Wetmore is the current Folly Beach city administrator. She would assume the seat in time for the September return of lawmakers to Columbia to pass the 2020-21 state budget and address spending $668 million in federal coronavirus reimbursements to state agencies and local governments.
Tuesday's election was to fill the vacancy created when Republican Peter McCoy, former House Judiciary chairman, became U.S. Attorney for South Carolina.
Wetmore and Stokes, a local attorney, will face off again Nov. 3 to claim the seat for the 2021-22 Statehouse term.
Democrats say the win bodes well for their other ballot candidates this year as some Charleston suburbs trend blue.