Time wasn’t on Gloria Tinubu’s or Preston Brittain’s side when it came to drumming up last-minute support ahead of Tuesday’s runoff to determine the Democratic nominee for the 7th Congressional District seat.
Before noon on Friday, there was no certainty there would even be a runoff. That changed just a few minutes after the start of the lunching hour, when 15th Circuit Judge Larry Hyman issued a ruling ordering the 2,300 votes cast for withdrawn Democratic candidate Ted Vick be included in the total.
Tinubu, who had been declared the winner of the June 12 primary with 52 percent of the total vote, saw her take drop to less than 49 percent once Vick’s ballots were added into the mix. Now, she and second-place finisher Brittain will engage in round two to determine who heads on to the title match in November, facing off against either Andre Bauer or Tom Rice on the Republican side.
John Keig, Brittain’s spokesman who questions were referred to, said the campaign looks forward to sharing Brittain’s vision on how to move the Pee Dee forward by creating jobs, protecting Social Security and Medicare and, “bringing common sense back to Washington.”
Tinubu said her camp will continue to run this race as they’ve always done it - on the ground.
Despite all the uncertainty about whether there would even be a Democratic runoff, Tinubu is confident that people will be more adamant in their support for her, and she’ll win in a more resounding way than the first time around.
“I am the nominee now, and I believe I will be the nominee on Tuesday, when the votes are counted again,” she said.
How the two candidates got to Tuesday’s runoff is the very definition of a bumpy ride.
Conway attorney Morgan Martin filed a lawsuit and maintained the Election Commission erred by not counting the votes cast for Vick. He and the attorneys for the Election Commission argued their positions during a hearing Thursday at the Georgetown County Courthouse.
In his ruling, Hyman noted that the Election Commission sought clarification on the issue from the S.C. Attorney General as to whether Vick’s votes should be counted.
“The Attorney General opined that the Vick votes should be included in any computation of a majority,” the ruling stated.
Vick withdrew from the race on May 29, two weeks before the primary, following an arrest on drunk driving and weapons charges in Columbia. Election Commission officials said it wasn’t feasible to remove his name from the ballot.
Tinubu said she wasn’t surprised by the ruling, but again stressed that she is moving forward.
“People understand that this is not in keeping with the tradition that had been practiced over the years,” she said. “And people see the unfairness of this.”
Brittain applauded the court’s decision, noting that “brave men and women from across our country have laid their life on the line to ensure everyone’s voice is heard in our democracy.”
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.