UNION COUNTY — After two exceptionally close elections and a recount of the results of the second election Rock Hill businessman and former SC House of Representatives member Ralph Norman is the Republican nominee for the US House of Representatives Fifth District Seat.
The US House of Representatives Fifth District 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.
A special election to fill the seat is scheduled to be held June 20 and to select their nominees for that election the Democratic and Republican parities held primaries on Tuesday, May 2.
The Democratic primary ended with Archie Parnell winning the party’s nomination, beating two other opponents with 70 percent of the vote.
While the Democrats had their nominee, the Republicans, with seven candidates running, fell well short of selecting a nominee in their primary.
District-wide, Tommy Pope, the current Speaker Pro Tempore of the SC House of Representatives who previously served as Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor, received 11,900 votes or 30.39 percent in the primary while Norman received 11,782 votes or 30.09 percent.
In order to avoid a runoff in a party primary, one candidate must receive 50 percent of the vote plus one vote. Since neither Norman nor Pope received the required majority, they again faced each other in a runoff held this past Tuesday (May 16).
District-wide, Tuesday’s runoff ended with Norman receiving 17,755 votes or 50.29 percent and Pope receiving 17,552 votes or 49.71 percent.
Even though Norman finished first, the GOP nomination was still up in the air because in elections where the candidates are separated by less than one percent of the vote state law requires an automatic recount.
That recount was held Friday afternoon and the results confirmed Norman’s victory.
On Thursday, the Union County Election Commission, and their counterparts in the other counties of the Fifth District, met to certify the results of the runoff in their respective counties.
When votes were first tallied Tuesday evening, they showed that Norman had won Union County with 492 votes or 53.36 percent to 430 votes or 46.64 percent for Pope.
Election Commission Chairman Keith Vanderford said Thursday that in certifying the results of the runoff, the commission determined that Pope’s tally was actually 431 votes, a gain of one.
The gain of a single vote did not change the fact that Pope lost Union County to Norman, nor did it change the fact that he also lost the district and with it the GOP nomination to Norman as well.
Certification of the results of Tuesday’s runoff was followed a day later by a recount of those results. As they did Thursday, the election commission met Friday at the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office to conduct the recount of the results they’d certified a day earlier.
Voter Registrar Darlene Pettit said that the recount did not result in changes in the vote tallies of the two candidates of the outcome of the runoff in Union County.
According to the SC Election Commission website (scvotes.org), Friday’s recount shows that, district-wide, Norman received 17,823 votes — a gain of 68 — or 50.31 percent while Pope received 17,602 votes — a gain of 50 — or 49.69 percent, thus winning the Republican nomination.
As the nominee of the Republican Party, Norman will face Democrat Archie Parnell, American Party candidate Josh Thornton, Green Party candidate David Kulma, and Libertarian Victor Kocher in the June 20 special election.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.