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U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., speaks with a staffer before the start of a House Ways and Means Committee hearing. Rice won a primary race on June 12, 2018, the first step as he seeks a fourth term in Congress. File/Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., kept his primary challenger at bay, according to unofficial election results. 

Rice, who represents the Pee Dee and Myrtle Beach areas in South Carolina's 7th Congressional District, was leading retiree Larry Guy Hammond 85 percent to 15 percent as of press time late Tuesday and declared the nomination winner.

The results will be certified later this week.

Rice, a member of the House's budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, is seeking his fourth consecutive term. He said he hopes to continue working on economic development projects in the poor, rural sections of his district, such as the inland port that recently opened in Dillon.

He also said he hoped that federal funding for Interstate 73, a longtime dream of Grand Strand tourism interests, will come to fruition during the next term. 

"I don't think it's going to happen this year but I think it's going to happen next year. The president's very clear he wants an infrastructure package. ... I feel like we're well-positioned," Rice said.

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Rice will face the winner of a June 26 Democratic runoff between college professor Mal Hyman and state Rep. Robert Williams in the Nov. 6 general election. Hyman and Williams were the top two vote-getters in their four-way primary Tuesday.

Here's the state of other congressional primary races around South Carolina: 

  • Civil rights lawyer Anabelle Robertson will face Army veteran Sean Carrigan in a runoff for the Democratic nomination in District 2. The winner faces Republican incumbent Joe Wilson.
  • Technical college instructor Mary Geren is the winner among District 3 Democrats. Insurance agency owner Hosea Cleveland was her only challenger. Geren faces Republican incumbent Jeff Duncan. 

Reach Chloe Johnson at 843-735-9985. Follow her on Twitter @_ChloeAJ.