The rain and having only three races on the ballot are both being blamed for low voter turnout for the party primaries in Georgetown County on Tuesday.
According to the county election officials, 9,147 people voted Tuesday — 5,313 in the Republican Primary and 3,834 in the Democratic Primary. In total, 22.3 percent of the counties registered voters cast ballots in the primaries.
When the filing period for this year’s elections concluded in March, there were supposed to be party contests for Georgetown County Council District 5, County Auditor, Sheriff and South Carolina House Seat 103 — as well as both Democrat and Republican contests for the new Congressional District 7 seat — on Tuesday’s ballots.
After many candidates were kicked off the ballots because of the State Supreme Court ruling concerning the filing of Statements of Economic Interest, only three races remained on the ballots in Georgetown County.
Republicans voted in the Sheriff’s race between incumbent Lane Cribb and challenger Doug Dishong.
They also got to vote for one of their party’s nine candidates for the new Congressional District 7 seat.
Democrats got to vote for one of their party’s four candidates in that race as well as for either Yancey McGill or Cezar McKnight in the S.C. Senate 32 race.
There will be a Republican runoff in the District 7 Congressional race as none of the nine candidates were able to pick up 50 percent of the votes, according to the unofficial results to be certified Thursday.
Andre Bauer and Tom Rice will square off on June 26.
In Georgetown County, Tom Rice received the most votes — 1,834 — followed by Bauer with 1,480. Districtwide, Bauer defeated Rice 12,002 to 10,235.
The other totals in Georgetown County in the Republican contest: Jay Jordan, 592; Katherine Jenerette, 245; Chad Prosser, 750; Dick Withington, 108; Randal Wallace, 80; Renee Culler, 79; Jim Mader, 62.
In Georgetown County — on the Democratic side — Gloria Tinubu was the decisive winner which was the case districtwide. She will move on to the November General Election without a runoff.
At first it was announced she would have to run against Preston Brittain in a runoff in two weeks but after the votes cast for Ted Vick were removed from the equation, it was determined she had received 52 percent of the vote districtwide.
Tinubu picked up 16,370 votes districtwide while Brittain received 12,300.
In Georgetown County, it was Tinubu with 2,350 votes (64 percent) followed by Brittain with 1,031. Parnel Diggs received 98 votes. Harry Pavilack received 87 votes.
This was the nail-biter race of the day as the lead between longtime incumbent Yancey McGill and newcomer Cezar McKnight went back and forth as votes throughout the Senate 32 district were tallied in the Democratic contest.
In Georgetown County the margin between the two candidates was wider with McGill receiving 1,967 votes to McKnight’s 1,112 votes.
But, when votes cast in Williamsburg, Berkeley, Florence and Horry Counties were added in, McGill won the race by only 82 votes — 6,367 to 6,285.
There was only one Georgetown County-only race in the party primaries Tuesday — the Republican contest between Sheriff Lane Cribb and his former deputy, Doug Dishong.
The numbers were never close. As the tallies were displayed in the Voter Registration Office one precinct at a time Tuesday night, Cribb started out with the lead and the margin got wider as more results were posted.
In the end, Cribb won the contest 4079-1120.
“I feel good and I am proud of my supporters,” Cribb said after the unofficial results were announced.
Currently he faces no opposition in November but another former deputy, Darryel Carr, is collecting signatures to run as a petition candidate.
“I will keep doing my job and do what I do. If people like it, they will vote for me. If they don’t they won’t,” Cribb said when asked about how he will run against a November opponent.
Most of the candidates removed from the ballot because of the Supreme Court ruling spent the day collecting signatures so they can be placed on the November ballot.
Each candidate must collect signatures from at least five percent of the voters in their district. For the Georgetown County-only candidates that is a little more than 2,000 signatures needed by the July 16 deadline.
Carol Pate was at the Black River precinct collecting signatures for Tammie Avant — hoping to run for clerk of court — and Mike Andrews, trying to get on the ballot for the county treasurer. She estimated 90 percent of the voters took time to sign the petitions.
She said those who did not want to sign said things such as “if they were thrown off the ballot, it had to be for a reason” and “I would not vote for them anyway.”
Barbara Brave signed petitions at McDonald Elementary School.
“They have a right to be on the ballot. That is why I signed,” she said.
By Scott Harper
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