Eckstrom sails to Republican primary win

Incumbent Richard Eckstrom cruised to another term as comptroller general.

COLUMBIA — Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom easily won the Republican primary Tuesday in his bid for a third term.

Eckstrom defeated Greenville certified public accountant Mike Meilinger and will face Democrat Robert Barber of Charleston in November. Barber is owner of Bowen's Island Restaurant, a former state representative and Charleston County School Board member.

Eckstrom, a certified public accountant, serves as the state's chief accountant. He lauded his opponent's race.

'Mike has a bright future in public service ahead of him if he wants to pursue it. He's a great person and I wish him the very best,' Eckstrom said in a statement.

The comptroller general post is a low-profile job that in many states is appointed by the governor. Its responsibilities include making sure the state's books are in balance and reviewing, among other things, expenses and bills submitted for payment.

The position comes with a seat on the state's five-member financial oversight panel that handles state spending and contract decisions. The governor heads that board.

Eckstrom has been one of Gov. Mark Sanford's top allies on the panel.

Meilinger served U.S. Marine Corps tours in operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 2006.

Eckstrom retired as a captain from the Navy Reserve in 1995 and serves as a brigadier general in the South Carolina State Guard.