Barrett forces runoff with Haley for GOP nomination

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Congressman Gresham Barrett received just enough votes to force a run off for the Republican nomination for governor during Tuesday's primary.

State Rep. Nikki Haley took 49 percent of the primary votes and flirted with earning a majority of votes, which would have given her the nomination outright. But, Barrett's 22 percent was good enough to keep his nomination hopes alive until a June 22 runoff.

Attorney General Henry McMaster and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer will not be included in the runoff.

The winner of the runoff will face Vincent Sheheen who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday.

With 99 precincts reporting, Haley received 204,904 votes, Barrett had 91,230, McMaster finished with 70,986 and Bauer ended up with 52,210.

The second-place finisher said he is staying in the runoff. Barrett said Wednesday morning he is "absolutely" staying in the race against Haley on June 22.

He said he has heard from no one about pulling out to give Haley a clear shot to the November election against Democrat Vincent Sheheen.

The Republican Governor's Association issued a statement Tuesday night calling Haley the clear choice. Barrett says he can't control what the association says.

Barrett says he's not worried the runoff would drain candidate resources before the election.

©2010 WCSC. All rights reserved.The Associated Press contributed to this report.