Low turnout for runoff elections

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By Stan Welch

In a runoff election more notable for the extremely low turnout than for the actual results, there were few surprises. Just over five per cent of registered voters in Anderson County turned out for runoff elections for three nominations. Both parties experienced runoffs for the office of state superintendent of education while the Republicans settled the question of who will be lieutenant governor in January.

Former state attorney general Henry McMaster defeated Mike Campbell, the son of former governor Carroll Campbell, for the nomination for lieutenant governor. McMaster garnered 3201 votes in Anderson County, compared to 2370 for Campbell. McMaster got 85,006 votes statewide, compared to Campbell’s 48,671.

Molly Spearman in the race for the Republican nomination for superintendent of education reinforced the notion that a well known political family name is of dubious value. Sally Atwater, the widow of former Republican operative Lee Atwater, was defeated by more than 700 votes in Anderson County. Statewide, Spearman outpolled her by 76,379 to 57,258.

Spearman will face Tom Thompson, who won the Democratic nomination for the same office, defeating Sheila Gallagher by a mere four votes. A total of 310 votes were cast by democrats across the county. Statewide, only a little over forty thousand votes were cast in the Democratic runoff, with Thompson gathering 23,383 to Gallagher’s 16,130 votes.

In Greenville County Council District 26 runoff, Lynn Ballard got 850 votes to defeat Todd Frederick’s 467.

Of Anderson County’s 108,635 registered voters, of both parties, only 5,968 votes were cast, for a 5.65% turnout.