UNION COUNTY — The Democrats have their nominee for the US House of Representatives Fifth District Seat but Republicans are going to have to go the polls in a May 16 runoff to select theirs.
Tuesday’s Democratic primary ended with Archie Parnell winning a landslide victory over his two opponents, garnering more than 70 percent of the vote, both in Union County and in the Fifth District as a whole.
With seven candidates running, the Republican primary was a much more complicated affair with Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman getting a combined total of just under 61 percent of the vote districtwide. With their percentage of the vote almost evenly divided between them at just over 30 percent each, neither Pope nor Norman received the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.
That runoff will be held May 16 and only persons who voted in Tuesday’s Republican primary or who didn’t vote at all may vote in it. Persons who voted in Tuesday’s Democratic primary may not vote in the runoff.
As the nominee of the Republican Party, the winner the runoff will face not only Democrat Archie Parnell, but also American Party candidate Josh Thornton, Green Party candidate David Kulma, and Libertarian Victor Kocher in the June 20 special election.
The special election is being held to fill the Fifth District Seat which 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 results of Tuesday’s primaries had to be certified by the election commissions of the 11 counties that make up the Fifth District and that’s just what happened Thursday when the Union County Election Commission met at the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office.
Voter Registrar Darlene Pettit said that the commission certified the local results of Tuesday’s primaries with no changes except for the addition of one vote to Parnell’s total.
The three Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary were Alexis Frank, Les Murphy and Archie Parnell.
District-wide, Parnell received 13,323 votes or 71.28 percent while in Union County he received 388 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 district-wide, receiving 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.
Persons who vote in the May 16 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
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.