Tom Rice greeted supporters like Ruth Bell at Thomas Cafe in Georgetown on Monday.
Georgetown County voters turned out in high numbers for Tuesday’s election, but participation was less than in 2008.
According to unofficial figures released by the Georgetown County Election Office on Wednesday, 31,174 of the county’s 42,801 registered voters cast a ballot in this election. That is a turnout of 72.8 percent.
In 2008, 79.1 percent of the county’s voters voted.
The results of the election are expected to be certified during a meeting at 10 a.m. today.
There is only one race that may change before the votes are certified. In the race for the Georgetown County School Board District 6, Richard Kerr and Peggy Wheeler-Cribb are trying to take over the seat vacated by Teresa Bennani. However, Kerr is leading that race by only 20 votes — 1,722 to 1,702.
Because there are challenged ballots and fail safe ballots that still need to be counted, the winner of that race will not be known until the votes are certified. Then, it is likely there will be a recount which will take place Monday.
In the presidential race, Georgetown County did not follow the nation which elected Barack Obama to a second term.
Locally, Republican Mitt Romney was the winner by a vote of 16,476 to 14,119. (See the separate story in today’s newspaper about the presidential race.)
Straight party votes
It was not a good day for the petition candidates as none of them won.
And one of the reasons can be found in the numbers.
Nearly half of the people who voted in Georgetown County cast a straight party ballot.
According to the unofficial information, there were 8,742 Democrat straight party votes while 6,980 Republicans voted straight party. Among the others, there were 71 Libertarian straight party votes, 175 Working Families party, 24 Constitution party and 35 Green party.
Some, but not all, who voted straight party did separately vote for some of the petition candidates.
Rice wins District 7
In the race for the new District 7 Congressional seat, Tom Rice was declared the winner Tuesday evening but his opponent, Gloria Bromell Tinubu did not concede the race until Wednesday morning.
Tinubu was trying to become the first black woman elected to Congress from South Carolina. The former Atlanta city councilwoman also served in the Georgia Legislature before moving back to her native South Carolina last year.
District-wide, Rice had about 55 percent of the vote.
In Georgetown County, Rice defeated Tinubu 16,441 to 14,022.
The district running from the shore on the Grand Strand west to Florence County, then north to the North Carolina state line trends strongly Republican.
Voters reject sales tax
There will not be an additional one percent added to sales taxes in Georgetown County.
Voters rejected the capital improvement tax by a vote of 15,586 to 12,831.
Clerk of Court
Democrat Incumbent Alma White will remain the county’s clerk of court after defeating petition candidate Tammie Avant 15,532 to 10,927.
“I am so thankful for the vote of confidence,” White said. “I think it says the voters believe the office is being run well and that I am doing a good job.”
Sheriff wins again
For the sixth time since 1992, Lane Cribb, a Republican, was elected sheriff of the county. On Tuesday, he defeated petition candidate Darryel Carr 18,049 to 8,707.
“I felt like I was going to win but I am always relieved when it’s over,” Cribb said.
Cribb was asked if he plans to seek a seventh term in 2016.
“I promise I will not run if I pass away before the next election. Otherwise, I am running,” he said.
County Council District 5
Austin Beard won a second term on County Council by defeating Democrat Ben Dunn and petition candidate Bubba Grimes.
The unofficial results were: Beard 1,238, Dunn 813, Grimes 790.
“I felt that I was the best candidate,” Beard said. “If I didn’t feel that way I wouldn’t have run.”
This being his first re-election campaign, he wasn’t sure what to expect, especially with two challengers.
“I had to run as if every day was the last day,” he said. “Continue to stand in front of people and talk and ask for their votes.”
Republican Brian Shult was elected to replace Linda Mock, who chose not to run for re-election.
Shult received 11,863 votes, to beat petition candidates Kathy Harrelson, 9,979 votes, and Rod Stalvey 2,269 votes.
“I was pleased and grateful,” Shult said. “I had a lot of help. I’m grateful to everybody who helped me win.”
Having never run for a contested office before, Shult was surprised by “the scope of the campaign.”
“As much as you know about the election process, until you’re in there and deal with the process on a day-to-day basis you don’t know,” he said. “It was revealing once you got in.”
He is excited about starting the position in July and plans to spend the next seven months learning the job and day-to-day operations and studying the laws, regulations and fundamentals.
House District 103
Incumbent Democrat Carl Anderson easily beat back a challenge by Republican Tom Winslow.
Anderson pulled in 10,242 votes, as compared to Winslow’s 3,167.
“I want to thank the people of Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties for their continuing support and confidence in my service to the district,” Anderson said. “I look forward to working with all of my neighbors in the district and to further introduce myself to residents in the new areas of the district.”
The following are other unofficial totals that will be certified today:
School Board District 3
Sandra Johnson: 1,525
Gene Footman: 728
School Board District 5
Elery Little: 1,570
Murray Vernon: 1,200
Kenny Johnson: 21,217
State Senate 32
Yancey McGill: 13,828
S.C. House District 108
Stephen Goldfinch: 12,356
Waldo Maring: 20,615
Loretta Washington-Cooper: 24,040
County Council District 2
Ron Charlton: 4,131
County Council District 3
Leona Tiger Miller: 3,005
County Council District 4
Lillie Jean Johnson: 3,244
School Board District 1
Sarah Elliott: 3,221
School Board District 4
Zelma Carr: 2,196
By Scott Harper
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