Columbia, SC (WLTX) - It was a good night for incumbents in Tuesday's state primaries, as most of them had easy victories over their challengers to avoid a runoff.
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Voters went to the polls to pick a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, Democratic and Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, and the people who will meet in the fall to become the new state education superintendent.
The state's two U.S. Senators had very good nights, as both Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott cruised to victories. Graham's was the most impressive: he beat back a challenge from six other candidates to win his nomination.
Graham will now face Democrat Brad Hutto in November's general election. Hutto also easily defeated his opponent. Scott will face Democrat Joyce Dickerson, a Richland County councilwoman, after she won her primary. That race will also feature American Party candidate Jill Bossi.
In the crowded race for education superintendent, Molly Spearman and Sally Atwater topped six other candidates to advance to a runoff in two weeks for the Republican nomination. Sheila Gallagher and Tom Thompson earned the right to face each other in the runoff on the Democratic side.
The contest to determine the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor is headed for a runoff, but just who will be a part of that race is still unclear. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Henry McMaster had secured his spot in the contest, getting 44 percent of the vote. But Pat McKinney led Mike Campbell by just over 1,100 votes, meaning a recount might be necessary to determine which one of them will go against McMaster.
The winner of the runoff will face Democratic State Senator Bakari Sellers in November. Sellers did not face a primary challenge.
Voter turnout was described as moderate to light statewide. Isolated voting problems were reported, including in Richland County, but most of those issues were attributed to late or confused poll workers, and not problems with either too few or malfunctioning machines.