South Carolina: Election Commission Says No Dem Runoff in 7th District

Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:35pm

The South Carolina State Election Commission today confirmed that there would be no Democratic runoff in the state’s new 7th district, virtually ensuring that the district will be won by a Republican.

The commission certified Gloria Bromell Tinubu, an economist and former Georgia state Representative, as the winner of Tuesday’s primary.

At issue was whether she had received more than 50 percent of the votes cast. Originally, according to the Associated Press’ count on election night, she did not, and was poised to go to a runoff with attorney Preston Brittain, who received the second highest number of votes. Brittain was backed by the South Carolina Democratic establishment and was seen as having a shot of winning the GOP-leaning district.

But the commission decided to disqualify votes cast for state Rep. Ted Vick (D), who dropped out of the race after he was arrested but still appeared on the ballot. The decision not to count votes for Vick put Tinubu over the top, giving her the more than 50 percent needed to win the election outright.

The South Carolina Democratic Party vociferously contested the commission’s decision.

But the commission, by a vote of 3-2, today affirmed what it had decided Tuesday.

“The issue at hand was how do we determine majority,” said Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire. “The question was whether to count votes for a candidate who withdrew, but who was unable to be removed from the ballot.”

“It’s our institutional understanding that that’s how it worked: that you don’t count votes for candidates who have withdrawn,” he said.

The AP reported that legal action is pending, so there may be another twist in this race yet.

For now, Roll Call rates the race as Safe Republican. Because South Carolina was allotted this new district in reapportionment, it would be a pickup for the GOP.