7th Congressional Democratic Primary results questioned

As we reported Tuesday night, according to the South Carolina Election Commission, Gloria Tinubu won the Democratic Primary for the newly formed 7th Congressional District with 53 percent of the vote, but that's not sitting well with the head of the state Democratic Party, Dick Harpootlian.

At the heart of the issue is whether the votes for candidate Ted Vick should be included in the totals.

Vick pulled out of the race after being arrested for DUI last month.

The State Election Commission, at the time, said it was too late to pull Vick's name off the ballot. In Tuesday's primary, despite withdrawing, he garnered seven percent of the votes.

In order for a candidate to win outright, avoiding a run off, he or she must get at least 50 percent of the vote. If you count Vick's seven percent in the total, Tinubu got 49 percent and would face a run off with the next highest vote getter, Preston Brittain.

Without Vick's votes counted, she has the necessary majority to win the primary.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian called Vick's presence on the ballot Tuesday a mistake.

He issued the following statement:

"The South Carolina Democratic Party cares about the voters in South Carolina and we care about their right to vote. Yesterday, in the 7th Congressional District, over 2,300 people voted for a candidate that canceled his campaign but still remained on the ballot. South Carolina code of law 7-17-610 states that '...there are more persons seeking nomination than there are offices, the majority shall be ascertained by dividing the total vote cast for all candidates by the number of positions to be filled, and by dividing the result by two.' Based on the names that appeared on the ballot, no candidate received 50% + 1 of the votes cast in the June 12 primary, thus a run-off is required. The Democratic Party does not want to disenfranchise any voter in South Carolina and by not counting the votes for Ted Vick, you are not counting the votes for over 2,300 people. This is something the Republican Party would condone but not the Democratic Party. Every votes counts."

Wednesday morning, we spoke with Bea Catalano, with the Horry County Democratic Party. She said, "She (Gloria Tinubu) won every precinct but one. She won fair."

Wednesday afternoon, Brittain's campaign manager, John Keig, released the following statement:

"In yesterday's election, more than 2,300 voters have been told their vote does not count - it's not right. We are committed to making sure these voters' voices are heard and will oppose any effort to disenfranchise voters in the 7th District... Counting all the votes for each of the candidates that were on Tuesday's ballot, no candidate earned 50% plus one vote, and thus a runoff election is required."

Tinubu's campaign responded:

"The most recent listing (June 8, 2012) of Democratic candidates on the South Carolina Election Commission's website clearly states that Ted Vick was not a candidate in the race. To argue that the South Carolina Election Commission should count the votes of someone who wasn't a candidate in the race is ridiculous. The Commission complied with the law by counting all votes for the four candidates in the race and calculating the majority by dividing the total by two. Gloria Bromell Tinubu, with 52.44 percent of the votes has a clear majority."

The chair of Horry County's Democratic Party, Doris Hickman, said she would be in touch with the state party officials Wednesday to find out what course of action, if any, would be taken.

Tinubu, a Coastal Carolina University economist, celebrated her win last night at the Sidewheeler Restaurant in Conway.

"This is an awesome challenge," she said. "I know that I cannot do this without you, and I certainly could not have done it without God."

For more primary election results, click here.

For county by county voting turnout and results, click here.