Finally, Fireworks in 7th Congressional District
By Paul Gable
Political fireworks are finally being launched in the 7th Congressional District primary races.
To date, the complete lack of buzz about the race district wide has been its most noticeable characteristic. Now that 10 of the original 14 candidates have been eliminated, we are finally getting down to some “good ole Pee Dee politickin.”
The biggest issue right now is if there will be a Democratic runoff election between Gloria Bromell Tinubu and Preston Brittain. The S.C. Election Commission will certify the election results from the primary Friday. There are two possibilities, one that Tinubu will be ruled the winner outright or two that a runoff will be held.
At issue are the nearly 2,300 votes Ted Vick received in Tuesday’s voting, two weeks after Vick dropped out of the race. Vick’s name remained on the ballot. With the Vick votes included in the vote totals, Tinubu captured 49 percent of the total vote and a runoff would be required. Without the Vick votes included, Tinubu took 52 percent of the total which would give her the win outright.
S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said not counting those votes disenfranchises all those voters who cast votes for Vick.
If the election commission rules against a runoff, the Brittain campaign has a backup position. Horry County attorney Morgan Martin, formerly the law partner of Brittain’s father Tommy Brittain, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two voters Thursday claiming a runoff must be held. According to sources familiar with the lawsuit, Martin is positioned to ask the S.C. Supreme Court to take original jurisdiction of the case Monday morning if the election commission rules an outright Tinubu win on Friday.
From what we understand, if a runoff is ruled by the Court, it will be held two weeks after the decision, not on June 26th as would be the case if the election commission decision results in a runoff.
On the Republican side of the 7th race, frontrunner Andre Bauer came out of the box in his runoff campaign with two strong, negative ads on opponent Tom Rice. Bauer led Rice by 5 percentage points after the initial balloting.
Rice received the endorsement of fourth place finisher Chad Prosser Thursday and we hear dealings are continuing behind the scenes for an endorsement from Jay Jordan who finished third.
A media report is circulating that Gov. Nikki Haley is offering to push for a judgeship for Jordan if he endorses Rice in the runoff. We can neither confirm nor deny that report. If it is true, Jordan, who said his mother cried for a week after he decided to run in the Congressional race, may be setting her up for at least a year of steady crying.
It strains credibility that Jordan, with his strong conservative views, could be enticed to endorse crony capitalist Rice who has strong ties to the Myrtle Beach Mafia.
These next two weeks could be wild. Stay tuned.
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