UNION COUNTY — Tuesday’s primaries for the Democratic and Republican nominations for the US House of Representatives Fifth District Seat ended with Democrat Archie Parnell winning his party’s nomination in a landslide and Republicans Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman headed toward a May 16 runoff.
Tuesday’s primaries saw three Democrats and seven Republicans battling for the chance to represent their respective parties in the June 20 special election to fill the Fifth District Seat. The seat has been vacant since Feb. 16 when then-Rep. Mick Mulvaney was confirmed by the US Senate as Director of the Office and Management and Budget.
The Fifth District is composed of all or parts of 11 counties including Union County and voters here and throughout the district went to the polls Tuesday to select the nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties.
The three Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary were Alexis Frank, Les Murphy and Archie Parnell.
In both Union County and the district as a whole, Parnell won by a landslide, garnering more than 70 percent of the vote.
District-wide, Parnell received 13,323 votes or 71.28 percent while in Union County he received 387 votes of 72.20 percent.
Frank received 4,022 votes or 21.52 percent district-wide while Murphy received 1,345 votes or 7.20 percent. In Union County, Frank received 92 votes or 17.16 percent while Murphy received 57 votes or 10.63 percent.
The seven Republicans seeking their party’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary were Chad Connelly, Ray Craig, Sheri Few, Tom Mullikin, Ralph Norman, Tommy Pope, and Kris Wampler.
Pope finished first both in Union County and district-wide, but fell well short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.
Just behind him in second place was Norman who will face Pope in the Tuesday, May 16 runoff.
District-wide, Pope received 11,900 votes or 30.39 percent while in Union County he received 317 votes or 31.36 percent
Norman finished just behind Pope district-wide, receiving 11,782 votes or 30.09 percent. In Union County, however, Norman finished third behind Connelly with 161 votes or 15.92 percent.
Mullikin finished third district-wide with 7,734 votes or 19.75 percent, but was fourth in Union County with 173 votes or 17.11 percent.
Connelly was fourth district-wide with 5,536 votes or 14.14 percent, but was third in Union County with 257 votes or 25.42 percent.
Few was fifth district-wide with 1,921 votes or 4.91 percent and also fifth in Union County with 96 votes or 9.50 percent.
Wampler was sixth district-wide with 197 votes or 0.50 percent and also sixth in Union County with 5 votes or 0.49 percent.
Craig was seventh both district-wide with 86 votes or 0.22 percent and in Union County with 2 votes or 0.20 percent.
Turnout for the primaries was low district-wide with only 60,439 or 12.27 percent of the district’s 492,731 registered voters casing ballots. Of those cast, 18,600 were cast in the Democratic primary and 39,156 in the Republican primary.
Turnout was even lower in Union County with only 1,551 or 8.68 percent of the county’s 17,680 registered voters casting ballots. Of those cast, 538 were cast in the Democratic primary and 1,013 in the Republican primary.
The totals for the individual candidates and the primaries as a whole are unofficial and must be certified by election officials in the respective counties of the Fifth District.
Union County Election Commission Chairman Keith Vanderford said Tuesday that the commission will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office to certify the results of the primaries in Union County.
The runoff will be held May 16 and persons who voted in Tuesday’s Democratic primary may not vote in it. Only those who voted in the Republican primary or those who did not vote in either primary may vote in the runoff.
Voters who vote in the runoff must bring one of the following types of photo identification with them:
• South Carolina Driver’s License
• South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles issued identification
• Military identification
• South Carolina Voter Registration Card with photograph
Whether it is Pope or Norman, the winner of the May 16 GOP runoff will not only face Democrat Parnell in the June 20 special election, but also American Party candidate Josh Thornton, Green Party candidate David Kulma, and Libertarian Victor Kocher.
For more information about the May 16 runoff and the June 20 special election and related matters contact the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office at 864-429-1616.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.