Democratic runoff to be held in 7th Congressional district
15th Circuit Judge Larry Hyman says all votes cast in the 7th district Democratic primary must be counted, therefore a Democratic primary runoff in South Carolina's 7th Congressional district will take place.
Hyman issued his ruling just after noon Friday.
On primary election night, the South Carolina Election Commission declared Gloria Tinubu the outright winner of the Democratic primary for the newly formed seat.
Preston Brittain finished second, and his supporters filed a lawsuit hoping to get a runoff.
The argument stemmed from some 2,300 votes cast for Ted Vick, who withdrew from the primary race after being arrested for DUI. His name remained on the ballot because it happened close to election day.
Brittain told NewsChannel 15 he's ready for a runoff. "We've been working under the impression that there was going to be a runoff. I felt very confident that eventually this decision would be reached
it's just too important. Counting votes is just too important. We have to have confidence that our system when we vote we're going to count those votes," he explained.
"I certainly understand that we don't have the time that I think we would all like to have but I'm prepared whether it's Tuesday or two weeks from Tuesday."
In a press conference Friday afternoon Tinubu told supporters she's disheartened the election commission's ruling was overturned.
"What is happening this election is a departure from anything that's happened before," said Tinubu. "I am excited about being a part of this democratic process. And demanding that we respect the rule of law and that the citizens will simply make their voices heard again."
In a statement, the SEC says it will meet today to re-certify the results of the 7th Congressional district's Democratic Primary and officially order the runoff.
The SEC says it and county election commissions have been working to prepare for that in the event it was ordered.
Spokesman Chris Whitmire says they are now making final preparations for both the Republican and Democratic runoffs to be held next Tuesday, June 26. The Democratic Runoff is between Preston Brittain and Gloria Bromell Tinubu. The Republican Runoff is between Andre Bauer and Tom Rice.
Bauer and Rice will debate live on WPDE NewsChannel 15 tonight at 8 p.m. We will stream the debate live here on CarolinaLive.com. We are extending invitations to Ms. Tinubu and Mr. Brittain for a separate debate.
Whitmire said Judge Hyman's ruling finally gives the S.C. State Election Commission a "clear direction from the Court on how to deal with votes cast for candidates who have withdrawn from a race after ballots have been prepared."
The SEC's decision to not count Vick's votes was done so because of a long-standing policy that votes for withdrawn candidates are not counted for the purpose of determining a majority vote in a primary. The SEC says, "This policy was based primarily on the plain language of the applicable state law (S.C. Code of Laws §7-17-610), which says that majority is determined "by dividing the total vote cast for all candidates by two," and that anything in excess of that sum is a majority."
Stay with WPDE NewsChannel 15 and CarolinaLive.com for updates on this story.