Thurmond, Scott head for runoff

Tim Scott addresses supporters.

State Rep. Tim Scott is heading toward a runoff in the Republican 1st Congressional District race against his former Charleston County Council colleague, Paul Thurmond.

They came out on top of the nine-way GOP field for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Henry Brown, according to complete, unofficial results.

Scott received 32 percent of the vote, while Thurmond, son of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, had 16 percent.

"It's fun to see a crowd excited at halftime," Scott told a room of about 100 cheerful supporters. "It is halftime, by the way. ... Unfortunately, at this halftime, the scores go back to zero."

Thurmond said he had a great night, and he appreciated the voters giving him another shot in a runoff. "A lot of these other candidates, they all ran great races, but I have a record that shows I'm able to get things done. I'm not just talking about ideas," he said. "This (runoff) is a whole new race. It's two weeks. It's a sprint."

Thurmond edged the other Republican scion in the race, Charleston businessman Carroll Campbell, son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell.

Campbell, who had 14 percent, was the only candidate who began his campaign before Brown left the race in January and had been critical of the five-term incumbent.

"I'll tell you what made the difference: nine candidates," Campbell said. "I set out in this race to open the Republican party's eyes, that we needed to start taking a business approach to government, that we didn't need to go along with the status quo. I unfortunately opened the door for two other folks, but that's OK. ... My father, he didn't win his first race either."

Wednesday, Thurmond picked up three endorsements from former challengers Stovall Witte and Ken Glasson. Campbell is expected to endorse Thurmond Thursday.

The June 22 runoff will pit Scott, who is vying to become South Carolina's first black Republican congressman since Reconstruction, against Thurmond, whose father revived the state's GOP as he fought for segregation.

The senator later changed his position, embracing civil rights, and upon his death it was learned he quietly supported a daughter he fathered with a black household servant.

These historical overtones didn't emerge in the run-up to Tuesday's nine-way primary, a race where candidates mostly spoke of their different resumes and life experiences while blasting the high level of federal spending, the new federal health care law and illegal immigration.

On the Democratic side, commercial airline pilot and Air Force veteran Robert Burton lost to Ben Frasier, 57, a small-businessman who already splits his time between the Washington area and Charleston and who has run for this office 18 times.

Frasier managed a 56-44 win in very light Democratic voting. With 97 percent of the vote counted, it appeared as if the two combined wouldn't approach the total Scott received. The 1st District has been in Republican hands since 1980.

The other Republicans, in order of their finish, included former Charleston County School Board member Larry Kobrovsky, former Brown chief of staff Stovall Witte, Horry County accountant Clark Parker, Army Reservist Katherine Jenerette, Mount Pleasant businessman Mark Lutz and Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson.