Visit to find your polling location | Photos by Ruta Smith

S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard of Charleston needed only 3% more of the vote to win the special Democratic primary for the Charleston-area S.C. Senate District 42 seat.  Instead, he’ll face the second-place candidate, S.C. Rep. Deon Tedder of North Charleston, in a Sept. 19 runoff. Tedder got 39% of the vote Tuesday. 

State law mandates a runoff when no candidate gets more than half the vote in a race with more than two candidates. S.C. Rep. J.A. Moore of North Charleston came in third with 15% of the vote, according to unofficial results.  Only 7.5% of the district’s 53,000 registered voters turned out for the election

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Rosa Kay, the only Republican to file in this race, in November.

The special election was the result of the resignation of former Democratic S.C. Sen. Marlon Kimpson of Charleston, who will take a job with the Biden administration. The district, which spans from Otranto Road in North Charleston to Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston, is heavily Democratic, representing a large portion of the region’s working-class Black voters. 

Gilliard, a staple in Charleston politics for a quarter century, has a strong record, championing the Statehouse hate crimes bill and higher minimum wage legislation. Tedder, however, has the backing of Kimpson and much of the Charleston Democratic political establishment. He also dominated fundraising ahead of the vote, raising $145,500 through mid-August, according to reports

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  • To get dozens of South Carolina news stories every business day, contact the folks at SC Clips.

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