Republicans head to runoff; Democrats choose Colbert Busch
As many expected, Republican voters will be heading to the polls again in two weeks for a runoff to determine their candidate for the First Congressional District.
Democrats, on the other hand, overwhelming chose Elizabeth Colbert Busch over perennial Ben Frasier.
Former Gov. Mark Sanford got almost 37 percent of the 53,657 votes cast in the Republican primary.
Dorchester County was more favorable toward the former governor, with almost 40 percent of Republican voters here choosing Sanford.
Behind him were attorney and former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic, with 13.32 percent of the vote districtwide, and state Sen. Larry Grooms, with 12.4 percent of the vote districtwide.
Because Bostic and Grooms are separated by less than 1 percent of the vote, there will be an automatic recount, said Joshua Dickard, executive director of the Dorchester County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.
Bostic performed better here in Dorchester than districtwide, earning 18 percent of the vote here.
Third place among Dorchester Republicans went to former Dorchester County Sheriff Ray Nash, with 12 percent of the vote. Districtwide, however, Nash received only 5 percent of the vote.
Voters who chose Sanford often cited his political experience as being more important than his extramarital affair and disappearance from the state.
Other candidates are touting their status as good Christian family men, and that’s all well and good, but “we need someone who can hit the ground running,” said Paul Gazaille outside the ROTC building at Summerville High School.
John Kalinofski considered Teddy Turner, but ultimately stuck with Sanford. New people in Washington don’t know what’s going on the way someone with experience does, he said.
But Bobby Boehler, voting late in the day at Alston Middle School, didn’t want anything to do with anyone who’s already held office.
“I’m tired of incumbents. Next ballot’s going to be the same way. No incumbents,” he said.
He voted for Teddy Turner.
Audrey Holzhausen voted for Bostic.
She chose him because he is pro-life and a Constitutionalist, she said.
Most all of the candidates claim those positions, she noted, but she has confidence Bostic actually means it.
“It is something I do know about him,” she said.
Democratic voters ranged from resigned to hopeful when asked to assess Colbert Busch’s chances in the general election.
Karen Campbell voted for Colbert Busch, but she said she wondered if she should bother, given Colbert Busch’s “pretty slim” chance of winning the general election.
“Nevertheless, I still have to do my little part,” she said.
Jane Shealey, however, was more optimistic about Colbert Busch’s chances.
“I think they’re higher than most people might judge, because she’s such a unique candidate,” Shealey said.
“It’s time for a good woman from South Carolina,” she said.
Tuesday’s election marked the first implementation of the state’s photo ID law, and as a result observers from the U.S. Department of Justice were at several polling places.
The election commission’s poll workers said most people were aware of the requirement and prepared with a photo ID.
Some complained about it, while others praised the new law.
One would-be voter at Alston Middle School got upset when poll workers wouldn’t accept his work ID.
There was also some annoyance at a few of the schools that moved the usual polling locations.
Voters at Alston typically go to the front lobby, but because school was in session Tuesday, the polling place was moved behind the school to the gym.
At Summerville High School, voters had to drive to the opposite side of campus to the ROTC building instead of using the cafeteria.
Fort Dorchester High School, on the other hand, blocked students from entering the polling location in the front lobby.
The only hiccup occurred when curbside voters arrived as school was letting out and parents were idling in the driveway waiting for students, blocking voters from getting to the curbside location.
The polling places that were moved will remain in their alternate locations for the runoff and general election, Dickard said.
The runoff is scheduled for April 2 and the election is May 7.