CAROLINA FOREST — New S.C. state representative Mike Ryhal was out of town on vacation Wednesday and could have missed the news that the S.C. State Election Commission certified his narrow victory over Dennis DiSabato to become the first to occupy a new legislative seat centered in Carolina Forest.
The certification found that there was a whiff more than 1 percent difference in the two candidates’ totals, which meant that no recount would be mandated.
DiSabato said he was surprised when he heard the Election Commission certified the vote late Wednesday morning.
“I think as close as it was, it would probably have made sense for them to recount,” he said.
Ryhal couldn’t be reached for comment.
The certification – a process to verify the election day vote count – found that Ryhal received 4,813 votes, or 50.24 percent of the total, as opposed to 4,709, or 49.17 percent for DiSabato. The difference is 1.07 percent.
The two had waged a laborious and sometimes contentious battle for the seat.
Initially, the two Republicans were tossed off the ballot before the June primaries, along with hundreds of others statewide, following a state Supreme Court ruling disqualifying them because they failed to file the Statement of Economic Interests form at the same time as their candidacy notice.
Then DiSabato filed a lawsuit contending that Ryhal filed improperly as a petition candidate, but the court sided with Ryhal.
Ryhal stressed the need for improved infrastructure on Grand Strand roads during his campaign. He said he believed that Interstate 73, if constructed, could help to alleviate traffic congestion such as that which plagues U.S. 501 at Carolina Forest Boulevard.
DiSabato agreed that an interstate would help in diversifying the economy, but also talked about the need for a new middle school in Carolina Forest and hoped to work to lower the state sales tax from 6 percent to 4 percent.
DiSabato didn’t say that he would, but he has until noon Monday to file a protest with the State Election Commission, said Marci Andino, its executive director.
She said protest hearings will be held the week of Nov. 26 or the week following.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.