Ken Ard and Bill Connor appear to be headed to a runoff for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.
Ard, a Florence County councilman, had 34 percent of the vote with nearly all precincts reporting. Connor had 27 percent. The Orangeburg attorney is a Citadel graduate.
Larry Richter, of Mount Pleasant, a former judge, trailed with about 24 percent. Eleanor Kitzman, of Columbia, the former state insurance director, had less than 15 percent. The runoff is June 22.
'Had a great time visiting precincts in Charleston, Georgetown, Horry, and Florence counties. Great to see all the enthusiasm,' Ard wrote on Twitter as polls closed.
Connor was optimistic.
'I was outspent by two different opponents and we are still in the runoff. Looking forward to a debate on the issues for the next two weeks,' Connor wrote on Twitter as results became clear.
Democrat Ashley Cooper, a Charleston lawyer and former aide to retired U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, is running unopposed.
Both Ard and Connor have campaigned on recruiting businesses and overhauling the state's piecemeal tax system. The winner would replace two-term Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who was defeated in the Republican primary for governor.
The lieutenant governor succeeds the governor, should the top officeholder die or leave office. South Carolina is among 18 states where the two are elected separately.