No runoff in 7th Congressional Democratic primary

Brianna Smith

The South Carolina Election Commission ruled Thursday that Gloria Bromell Tinubu is the winner of the 7th Congressional District Democratic Primary.

After Tuesday night's primary, the Coastal Carolina University economist was declared the winner with 53 percent of the vote, but the state Democratic Party challenged that.

The Election Commission did not include votes from Ted Vick, who dropped out of the race when he was arrested on DUI and weapons charges. If Vick's votes are counted, Tinubu only got 49 percent of the vote. That would have meant a runoff is required between Tinubu and Preston Brittain.

But Friday afternoon, the Election Commission met and decided again Tinubu was the winner and a runoff would not be held.

Just minutes after that announcement, NewsChannel 15 spoke with Tinubu who said she's excited the state election commission kept true to their policies and procedures.

"That has been the traditional practice of the election commission and it would've been unusual had they deviated from that," she said. "We've got a lot of work to do and we're fired up and ready to go!"

Her winner's high may not last very long. A lawsuit filed by Brittain supporters says the State Election Commission can't just discount more than 2,300 ballots. Those votes were cast for Ted Vick who dropped out because of a DUI arrest in May.

"There is certainly an argument that these votes should not be included and is consistent with what had happened in the rulings in Anderson and Florence. The Attorney General had given his opinion that we should include the votes, but we had to deliberate that and come up with the best decision we could," explained John Hudgens, State Election Commission Chairman.

Brittain for Congress Campaign Manager John Keig issued the following statement Friday evening.

"It is disappointing that the State Election Commission determined that more than 2,300 voters have been told that their vote does not count against the recommendation from the State Attorney General. We believe that the court will ultimately decide that the votes cast will be counted. Preston looks forward for a swift resolution of this matter for the benefit of all affected by the SC Election Commission decision."

A hearing is scheduled for June 21 on the lawsuit filed by Brittain supporters. That's just five days before the runoff would be held. A judge has ordered election officials not to calibrate voting machines for the runoff elections until the hearing.