Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Gloria Tinubu says she is the rightful winner in this week’s Democratic Primary for the new District 7 Congressional seat.
But the man declared the runner-up, Preston Brittain — as well as the head of the South Carolina Democratic Party — both say there needs to be a June 26 runoff.
The South Carolina Election Commission will meet today to determine if there will be a runoff in the race.
If the commission stands by its ruling declaring Tinumbu the winner, a lawsuit has been filed by Conway attorney Morgan Martin asking a judge to order a runoff in the race.
At issue is whether the votes cast for Ted Vick in Tuesday’s Primary should be counted. Vick dropped out of the race after being arrested for drunken driving but it was too late to remove his name from the ballot and he received about 2,300 votes.
South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian says the votes cast for Vick need to be part of the equation.
If that happens, Tinubu would have less than 50 percent of the vote and a runoff with Brittain would be required.
“The South Carolina Democratic Party cares about the voters in South Carolina and we care about their right to vote,” Harpootlian said in the release.
Harpootlian cited South Carolina code of law 7-17-610, which states “...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.”
Brittain, on his website, sides with Harpootlian, proclaiming “I am proud to announce that we are in the runoff election.”
However, in a statement released late Wednesday, Tinubu says she does not believe a runoff is required.
Tinubu says the Election Commission “complied with the law” by not counting the votes for Vick and declaring her the winner.
She said Vick withdrew from the race May 25 and a June 8 listing on the Election Commission’s website “clearly states that Ted Vick was not a candidate in the race.”
Tinubu said to count the votes cast for a non-candidate “is ridiculous.”
If the Election Commission stands by its ruling — and if Martin is not successful with the lawsuit — Tinubu will be declared the winner with 52 percent of the vote.
Whoever wins will face either Andre Bauer or Tom Rice in November. Those two will be in a runoff for the Republican nomination.
By Scott Harper