State Rep. Ted Vick on Friday ended his bid to become the Democratic nominee for South Carolina’s new 7th Congressional District following his arrest in Columbia on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and illegally carrying a gun.
“While I have full confidence that the legal system will clear much of this up, it will not change the fact that I made some serious mistakes that I alone am responsible for,” the 39-year-old, four-term S.C. House member said in a statement. “I realize that I have caused pain to those who love and support me and it’s my responsibility to make this right.”
“After spending time with my family, my pastor and my friends, I have decided to end my campaign for the United States Congress.” Hours after Thursday’s arrest, Vick said he regretted his actions.
Vick’s exit leaves Georgetown economist Gloria Bromell Tinubu and Horry County attorney Preston Brittain as the two leading candidates in the Democrat primary.
“I will humbly seek re-election to the State House in November,” Vick’s statement said. “If re-elected, I will continue to work across party aisles to seek consensus and progress.”
House Minority Leader Rep. Harry Ott, D-Calhoun, said Vick made the correct choice in withdrawing from the congressional race.
“I think that would be the appropriate thing for him to do,” Ott said Friday afternoon, declining to comment further.
Former gubernatorial candidate Sen. Vincent Sheheen, whose district includes portions of Vick’s district and who is a friend, said in a statement that he is disappointed in the arrest and added, “Ted’s dropping out of the congressional race is the best thing he could do.”
Vick had been the Democrat’s fundraising leader and a strong candidate in the June 12 primary for the largely coastal, Republican-leaning district anchored by Horry County.
A Francis Marion University-SCNOW.com poll conducted earlier this month showed Vick was leading at 15 percent among Democratic candidates. Two-thirds of Democratic voters said they were undecided.
Vick is slated to run unopposed for S.C. House District 53 in the Democratic primary. Challenger Phil Powell was among candidates removed by the S.C. Supreme Court following a statewide controversy over proper filing of candidates’ disclosure of their business holdings.
Republican Richie Yow will be on the ballot in November as the GOP nominee.
Vick, in Columbia as the legislative week wound down, was stopped at 1:12 a.m. Thursday by a Columbia police officer who was using radar to track speeders on Devine Street near Five Points, a police report shows. Vick, driving his 2012 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, was ticketed for going 44 mph in a 30-mph zone.
The officer smelled “a strong, high odor” of alcohol and noticed the driver’s eyes were “very glazed over.” Vick also was “unsteady on his feet” and “swaying,” according to the report. Vick twice declined to take field sobriety tests and later a breath analysis, the report states.
The police report also shows that a 21-year-old woman who is a recent USC graduate was in Vick’s car. Columbia police withheld her name from the report released to the media. She was not charged.
The woman told police she met Vick at Delaney’s Pub in Five Points where they had a few drinks. They then went to Jake’s Bar and Grill, where they drank more, the woman said. Vick was driving her home, according to the report.
When Vick was taken to the Richland County jail, one of the arresting officers discovered a Kel-Tec, semiautomatic, .380-caliber pistol in a right, front pants pocket. The arresting officer, who had just completed training at the police academy, later was given “personnel counseling” on proper pat-down procedures when a suspect initially is taken into custody, Chief Randy Scott said Friday.
Vick did not tell the officers he was carrying a firearm. A state concealed weapons permit in his wallet had expired in 2007 – five years ago.
Vick is charged with DUI, speeding and unlawful possession of a firearm. All are misdemeanors, including the DUI because it is a first offense, Scott said.
The DUI and firearm offenses carry penalties each of up to 30 days in jail. He also could be fined up to about $1,000 for each. Vick is charged under the city’s law dealing with illegal firearms, the chief said. Speeding 14 miles in excess of the speed limit carries a fine of about $135.
Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664. The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News contributed.