There won’t be a runoff in the 7th District Democratic primary race.
The State Board of Canvassers, a board with the S.C. State Election Commission that certifies results, announced the decision Friday just before 5 p.m. declaring Gloria Bromell Tinubu the winner and ending Preston Brittain’s run for the congressional seat.
Tom Rice and Andre Bauer will be in a runoff June 26 to determine the Republican candidate in the 7th District race and votes will be recounted in Democratic State Senate District 32 between incumbent Yancey McGill and Cezar McKnight.
The board voted 3-2 deciding not to consider a runoff for the 7th District Democrats, said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the election commission. Whitmire said the decision came after the board received counsel from the state attorney general’s office in executive session and follows historical decisions on the issue.
Tinubu said she celebrated as the winner on Tuesday, but is still relieved and excited by the decision.
“I’m happy that the Commission voted as they have traditionally voted in these issues,” she said. “We are happy and excited.”
It’s not over yet, though.
Conway attorney Morgan Martin has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two clients that maintains a runoff election must be held June 26. That suit will be heard next week.
Tinubu was declared the winner of Tuesday’s primary initially by the Election Commission which reported Tinubu had claimed more than 52.44 percent of the vote from the eight counties in the newly formed 7th Congressional District. Horry was one of the last counties to post on the website, and Tinubu, a Georgetown county resident, trounced Brittain, a Myrtle Beach lawyer, on his home turf. Tinubu got 3,288 Horry County Democratic votes to 1,493 for Brittain.
Brittain did not immediately return calls for comment Friday, but his campaign manager John Keig issued a statement around 7:30 p.m. saying, "It is disappointing that the State Election Commission determined that more than 2,300 voters have been told that their vote does not count against the recommendation from the State Attorney General. We believe that the court will ultimately decide that the votes cast will be counted.”
The dispute which created the possibility of a runoff came after votes for State Rep. Ted Vick, who withdrew his candidacy but appeared on the ballot, were discounted. Vick took himself out of the running following an arrest in Columbia where police said he was driving under the influence.
The Commission only tabulated votes for four candidates – Tinubu, Brittain, Parnell Diggs and Harry Pavilack – in the initial decision. Some argued the 2,300 votes cast for Vick should have been used in the total number of votes. Had that occurred, Tinubu wouldn’t have had a majority and a runoff would have been necessary.
Tinubu said she understood some may be disappointed about votes not counting, but said the position of the law clearly states votes for withdrawn candidates will not be counted. Now, she’s focusing on November.
“We work triply hard,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do, a lot of outreach. We hope to share our message to all the Democrats and Independents and Republicans.”
She’s going to start organizing a 7th District Community Council now, before voters head to the polls again. The council would be a meeting place for all residents in the 7th District to voice concerns to help prioritize goals for the area.
“It’s a wonderful time in the life of the citizens of this area,” Tinubu said. “It’s been a while since a woman has had a chance to be a representative and South Carolina has never had an African American woman as a representative.”
Tinubu said she plans to identify and work towards public policy changes that would benefit the district she describes as “predominantly rural and persistently poor.”
There will also be runoffs for Republicans in State Senate District 8 and 35 and Democrats in the State House of Representatives District 41. Votes will be recounted in the Democratic State Senate District 32.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.