Summerville lawyer and businessman Mike Rose reclaimed the Senate District 38 seat Tuesday with a narrow win over Republican incumbent Randy Scott, whose April 19 DUI arrest and subsequent actions likely doomed his hopes of a second term.
Rose led Scott by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin with all precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
Many considered Rose the underdog after he filed in March, but things changed dramatically after a Dorchester County sheriff's deputy charged Scott with DUI.
Scott, who has feuded with outgoing Sheriff Ray Nash, claimed the charge was politically motivated. A magistrate dismissed the case late last month, but prosecutors vowed to appeal.
While Rose didn't dwell on the DUI charge during the campaign, he did discuss tape recordings of conversations between Scott and his wife that the Dorchester County jail made the night of his arrest. Scott later apologized for those remarks, but Rose said Scott abused his office by trying to get special treatment from magistrates.
Rose, who held the state Senate seat from 1989 to 1997, said he didn't talk with Scott on Tuesday night. Asked what role Scott's arrest played in the outcome, Rose said he did not know. "The voters had their own reasons for voting as they did. I just can't speculate how much one factor counted versus another," Rose said. "I thought I could win when I ran based upon my past record and vision for the future."
Scott, who could not be reached, campaigned on his record of providing community service and has said he didn't expect the DUI charge to determine Tuesday's primary.
"I think the people know that I've done a good job and people know I've been a good senator and before that I was a hard-working county councilman," he said previously. "People will stick with me."
In the end, they didn't. Rose faces no Democrat on the ballot this fall.