S.C. Election Commission

Editor’s Note: Updated 12:00 a.m.

Voters across the Palmetto State on Tuesday headed to the polls to cast their ballots in primary elections for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and several Statehouse seats. Polls opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m., but more than 100,000 people voted early in the primaries according to the state Election Commission.

As of 12 a.m., about 96% of counties had submitted their final tallies to the S.C. Elections Commission (SCEC), with 100% of Charleston County votes having been tallied. 

The mail-in votes came thanks in part to a new election law replacing the old in-person absentee voting with an early voting period that doesn’t require voters to provide an excuse as to why they want to vote early. In Charleston County, 6,464 people voted early. 

Candidates need at least 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election to be held June 28.

Big statewide elections

S.C. governor Democratic primary: Joe Cuningham had earned more than half the votes at 96% of votes tallied, according to the SCEC, giving him the projected victory over other Democratic challengers, including runner-up S.C. Sen. Mia McLeod.

  • Carlton Boyd – 9,204 (5.43%)
  • Joe Cunningham – 94,251 (55.63%)
  • Mia McLeod – 53,278 (31.45%)
  • Calvin CJ Mack McMillan – 6,084 (3.59%)
  • William H. Williams – 6,595 (3.89%)

S.C. governor Republican primary: The Associated Press declared incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster the winner of the Republican primary over challenger Harrison Musselwhite for the seat less than an hour after polls closed. 

  • Henry McMaster – 284,370 (83.17%)
  • Harrison Musselwhite – 57,562 (16.83%)

State superintendent of education Democratic primary: 

  • Gary L. Burgess – 51,080 (31.31%)
  • Lisa Ellis – 81,286 (49.83%)
  • Jerry Govan – 30,754 (18.85%)

State superintendent of education Republican primary:

  • Travis Bedson – 43,817 (13.82%)
  • Bryan Chapman – 38,809 (12.24%)
  • Kizzi Gibson – 35,848 (11.3%)
  • Lynda Leventis-Wells – 26,615 (8.39%)
  • Kathy Maness – 98,777 (31.14%)
  • Ellen Weaver – 73,297 (23.11%)

U.S. House District 1 Republican primary: Despite strong backing from former President Donald Trump, Katie Arrington is projected to come up short in her bid against incumbent Republican Nancy Mace.  Mace’s endorsement from former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley may have helped push her ahead in the Lowcountry. Mace’s victory is also noteworthy because she unapologetically voted to certify Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, provoking Trump’s ire.  

“These people, the American people, were lied to,” Mace told NPR Jan. 7, 2021. “His followers were lied to. Many — millions of people — believed that Congress could usurp the role of the Electoral College and singularly overturn the results of the election in a largely ceremonial vote to certify the Electoral College and the outcome in 50 states that legally certified their elections this cycle.”

  • Kartie Arrington – 22,842 (44.99%)
  • Nancy Mace -27,056 (53.29%)
  • Lynz Piper-Loomis – 870 (1.71%)

U.S. House District 7 Republican primary: Incumbent Republican Tom Rice’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump may have cost him his seat in the U.S. House against Trump-backed candidate Russell Fry, but he’s known that to be the case for some time. “I made my next election a little bit harder than the ones in the past,” he said ahead of the primary. Rice doubled down, however, on his belief that voting in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump in 2019 was the right thing to do, despite it hurting him in the polls.

  • Barbara Arthur – 10,453 (12.31%)
  • Garrett Barton – 2,148 (2.53%)
  • Russell Fry – 43,374 (51.07%)
  • Mark McBride – 1,672 (1.97%) 
  • Spencer A. Morris – 442 (0.52%)
  • Tom Rice – 20,846 (24.54%)
  • Ken Richardson – 6,002 (7.07%)

U.S. Senate Democratic primary: 

  • Catherine Fleming Bruce – 51,351 (34.4%)
  • Angela Geter – 51,860 (32.23%)
  • S.C. Rep. Krystle Matthews  – 53,686 (33.37%)

Charleston County elections

S.C. House District 80 Republican primary: 

  • Kathy Landing – 2,750 (56.63%)
  • Chris Staubes – 2,106 (43.37%)

S.C. House District 112 Democratic primary:

  • David Stanley Artushin – 880 (51.1%)
  • Stephen Hilton – 842 (48.9%)

S.C. House District 112 Republican primary: 

  • Joe Bustos – 2,626 (53.75%)
  • Jackie LaPan Edgerton – 1,640 (33.57%)
  • Ross Ward – 620 (12.69%)

S.C. House District 114 Republican primary: 

  • Lin Bennett – 1,532 (45.99%)
  • Gary Brewer – 1,799 (54.01%)

S.C. House District 116 Republican primary: 

  • Dixie Button – 588 (20.54%)
  • Matthew Leber – 2,275 (79.46%) 

Register of Deeds Democratic primary: Karen Hollings, widow of the late nephew of U.S. Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings is projected to unseat incumbent Democrat Michael Miller, who has made headlines for paperwork backlogs and management issues throughout his tenure at the office. 

  • Karen Lesser Hollings – 14,544 (64.7%)
  • Michael Miller – 7,934 (35.3%) 

Probate Judge Democratic primary: 

  • Tamara Cunningham Curry – 16,967 (76.84%)
  • Stephanie Ganaway-Pasley – 5,115 (23.16%)

County Council District 2 Republican primary: 

  • Chris Gramiccioni – 1,918 (36.67%) 
  • Larry Kobrovsky – 3,312 (63.33%)

County Council District 8 Democratic primary: 

  • Anna B. Johnson – 2,008 (56.25%)
  • Ronald Ladson – 761 (21.32%)
  • Millicent Traeye Middleton – 801 (22.44%) 

County Council District 8 Republican primary 

  • Joe Boykin – 2,631 (84.93%)
  • Gene Forney – 467 (15.07%)

Other statewide primaries

Secretary of State Republican primary:

  • Keith Blandford – 78,131 (24.49%)
  • Mark Hammond – 240,964 (75.51%)

Attorney General Republican primary: 

  • Lauren Martel – 109,115 (33.67%)
  • Alan Wilson – 214,967 (66.33%)

Commissioner of Agriculture Republican primary:

  • Bill Bledsoe – 89,928 (28.56%)
  • Rob Rozier – 36,323 (11.54%) 
  • Hugh Weathers – 188,610 (59.9%)

Charleston City Paper has also published a pair of editorials featuring our endorsements for state and local elections:

For all other election coverage, stay up to date with the City Paper leading up to Tuesday’s primaries.