Gilliard, Tedder to likely head to a runoff election for SC Senate Dist. 42

Two state representatives will likely head to a runoff election after residents voted in a special election primary for Senate District 42.
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 6:56 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2023 at 4:24 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Two South Carolina Representatives will likely head to a runoff election after voters in Charleston and Dorchester Counties voted in a special election primary for Senate District 42.

Tuesday’s election was focused on three Democratic nominees and current State House Representatives: Deon Tedder, Wendell Gilliard and JA Moore.

Unofficial results from the South Carolina Election Commission show Representatives Deon Tedder and Wendell Gilliard will likely head to a runoff election after both candidates failed to receive more than 50% of the vote.

Gilliard has 46.63% with 1,855 votes, and Tedder has 38.59% with 1,535 votes. JA Moore is at 14.78% with 588 votes.

All three candidates are running for the vacant seat that was previously held by Marlon Kimpson, who resigned to take a job with the Biden administration.

“Being in a runoff with a 20-plus-year veteran, potentially, that says a lot to our momentum to the community and what the people want,” Tedder said during his watch party. “What we saw today, we saw the numbers we expected as far as turnout, voter turnout. But what we really saw in the end as we’re getting the totals in from the precincts is that Charleston and Dorchester Counties -- they’re clearly ready for a new generation of leadership.”

According to the Charleston County Board of Elections, a “win” would constitute winning 50% of the votes plus one, which no candidate received Tuesday night.

“Knowing they outspent us 5-1 with huge commercials, and we chose not to go there. I wanted to keep it grassroots, knocking on doors, talking to people, going in places like we’ve been doing all along. We’re not going to stop,” Gilliard said during his watch party. “We need more boots on the ground. More door knocking. Getting the message out through technology but keeping it real by getting out into these civic organizations and talking with people. Going into the community, etc. They know who to identify with, OK?”

A runoff election will be held Sept. 19.

Once the ballots are counted, these votes will decide who faces off against Republican candidate Rosa Kay for the general election on Nov. 7.

Polling locations in Charleston and Dorchester Counties opened their doors Tuesday morning at 7 a.m.

“[District] 42 is always important to the county,” poll worker Elton Carrier said. “It’s nice to see three candidates, all three are very qualified. All are in the State House now. So, I think it will be interesting to see who wins.”

Poll managers reported moderate voter turnout throughout the day. At Charleston Water Systems on St. Philip Street, poll managers said they saw a few people throughout the morning, but it did slow down.

“We hope afternoon and after work hours, it’ll pick up,” Carrier said.

They attributed that to the workday, saying it was a trend they expected to see.

The polling location at Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston represents seven different precincts in the North Charleston area and has seen a consistent moderate turnout.

“It’s important, no matter how big or small the issues are,” North Charleston voter Leroy D. Singleton said. “You gotta vote. It starts at the ground level. This is a ground-level voting thing. It starts local. To make some type of impact, to make a difference, you got to do local first.”

Polls were open until 7 p.m.

To find out more, click here.