Wednesday, June 20, 2012
S.C. Senator Yancey McGill says he has never experienced an election like Tuesday’s, and he says he is thankful the voters in Georgetown County helped him barely edge out his opponent.
However, newcomer Cezar McKnight says the unofficial results are so close that the race is not over until all the votes are recounted. The recount will take place Monday morning.
When the votes in the five counties served by the Senate 32 seat were counted Tuesday, McGill unofficially defeated newcomer Cezar McKnight by only 82 votes.
McGill — who lives in Williamsburg County and is a former Kingstree mayor — lost by a substantial margin in his home county.
Districtwide, McGill — who has held the Senate seat since 1988 — received 6,367 votes while McKnight received 6,285.
In Williamsburg County, McKnight was a decisive winner 4,632 to 2,990.
The district covers small portions of Berkeley, Florence and Horry counties as well.
In Berkeley, McGill was the winner 610-95; in Florence, McGill received 604 votes to McKnight’s 367 votes; and in Horry, McGill won 196 to 79.
But it was Georgetown County that gave McGill the biggest win where he received 1,967 votes and McKnight received 1,112 votes.
Because McGill won districtwide by less than one percent, a recount of the votes is required by law.
“Obviously, this is an extremely close election. Voters are not content with the status quo and they want change,” McKnight said in a written statement. “Since the margin is so close, there will be a mandatory recount. Our goal is to ensure that every vote is counted. It is imperative that the wishes of the voters are heard in every county of this district.”
McGill: Race an issue
McGill said it has been a campaign season different from any he has experienced.
“I have never dealt with a racial divide like I have in this election,” McGill said Wednesday morning. “In Williamsburg it was a divisive type of election that I did not anticipate.”
Late Wednesday, McKnight issued a statement responding to McGill’s comment.
“Black and white folks in Williamsburg County have been supporting Yancey McGill for 24 years. The results [Tuesday] had nothing to do with race and Senator McGill should apologize for playing the race card. People did not vote for Yancey because they do not like what he is doing,” McKnight wrote.
He continued by saying people “do not like his support of Nikki Haley’s agenda or his failure to bring jobs to our area.”
Thankful for Georgetown County
McGill said he is very appreciative to the voters in Georgetown County who helped him secure the narrow win.
“The first thought I had when the final numbers were announced is how thankful I am to Georgetown County,” McGill said. “I am really appreciative of the support I received.”
Despite his nervousness as the votes were being counted Tuesday night, McGill said he is glad McKnight was not removed from the ballot as more than 200 others were across the state.
“I preferred him being on the ballot just like I would have preferred the other 200 remain on the ballot,” McGill said.
He said he feels he would have received even more votes in Georgetown County but, he said, he thinks many Democrats in the county chose to vote in the Republican Primary so they could vote in the sheriff’s race.
By Scott Harper