Republican primary voters have unfinished business.
On June 26, all those voting in Tuesday’s GOP primary and anyone who did not vote will decide the nominees for governor and attorney general.
Gov. Henry McMaster secured 42 percent of the vote Tuesday to lead a five-way field. He needed 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff. He will face Greenville businessman Johnson Warren in a runoff after Warren (28 percent) finished ahead of Catherine Templeton (21 percent).
The runoff winner will face Democratic Rep. James Smith of Columbia and American Party candidate Martin Barry in November. Smith easily coasted to victory (62 percent) over Florence Marguerite Willis (28 percent) and Charleston consultant Phil Noble (11 percent). Like McMaster's Republican challengers, Smith has called for a change in leadership in the state's top office, a stance he reminded supporters of Tuesday in downtown Columbia.
"Today, this day, Democrats, independents and Republicans cast their ballots to support this campaign for new leadership," Smith said. "All of us joining together seeking to elect a governor to serve all the people of this state, a governor who can unify this state, and a governor who will care more about doing a job than keeping the job. And my friends, I am ready to be that governor."
Smith has picked fellow state Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell as his running mate for lieutenant governor. McMaster has selected businesswoman Pamela Evette, while Warren is running with retired Charleston developer and State Ports Authority Chairman Pat McKinney.
Before McMaster and Warren meet at the polls, they will face off on stage. The Post and Courier of Charleston is again partnering with South Carolina Educational Television and the state Republican Party for a debate, set for June 20 at the Newberry Opera House.
Entering the race in February as a virtual political unknown, Warren's popularity surged in recent weeks, as he knocked Catherine Templeton out of the No. 2 Republican slot. In the race for more than a year, the former public health chief had nearly matched McMaster in fundraising, but Warren — largely self-funded, with millions of his own money — surged in the closing days, with Templeton finishing Tuesday's runoff with just more than 21 percent.
In her concession speech, Templeton fell short of endorsing Warren but reiterated support both for the "outsider" mantle both of them donned during the primary campaign and the overall success of Republican candidates.
"We want to make sure the next conservative new generation of South Carolina wins in November," Templeton told supporters gathered in Columbia. "We've got to all come together and fight because we have to make sure that 'blue wave' doesn't get us."
McMaster led his individual GOP competitors throughout the primary but lagged behind them collectively, falling well below the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Collectively, Templeton and Warren's supporters marked more than 49 percent in Tuesday's voting.
The short primary runoff window will mean a vigorous campaign over the next two weeks, and Warren on Tuesday warned his supporters they'd likely see McMaster's campaign go negative on him.
"I have been shot at before," Warren said, challenging McMaster to three debates. "The people of South Carolina deserve to see that Henry McMaster has no idea about our future."
Attorney general runoff
The other statewide GOP race that was not decided Tuesday involves incumbent Attorney General Alan Wilson, who got 49 percent of the vote. He will face Todd Atwater (30 percent) on June 26. William Herlong finished third in the race with 22 percent.
In the GOP primary for secretary of state, incumbent Mark Hammond won easily with 65 percent of the vote. Joshua Putnam was second at 13 percent.
2nd District Democratic runoff
For some voters in the western portion of The T&D Region, Democrats will be returning to the polls in a runoff race to determine which candidate will meet GOP Congressman Joe Wilson and American party member Sonny Narang in November. Retired Army veteran Sean Carrigan of Chapin and Annabelle Robertson of West Columbia will meet in the runoff.
On Tuesday, Robertson led the field with 42 percent of the vote. Carrigan got 40 percent and Phil Black had 18 percent.
- U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford (46 percent) lost his Republican primary to state Rep. Katie Arrington (51 percent) in the 1st District GOP race. Dimitri Cherny got 3 percent of the vote.
- Joe Cunningham, a construction lawyer and yoga studio owner, won the Democratic nomination for the 1st District, which includes Charleston and the southern coast and has not elected a Democrat since 1978.
- In the 5th District, Archie Parnell won the Democratic nomination even after divorce papers surfaced from nearly 45 years ago saying he beat his wife. The win by the Sumter attorney sets up a rematch with U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman. Constitution party candidate Michael Chandler will also appear on November's ballot.
- U.S. Rep. Tom Rice easily won the Republican nomination as he seeks a fourth term, beating Larry Guy Hammond of Myrtle Beach in the 7th District that runs from Florence to Myrtle Beach. He will face the Democratic nominee — Mal Hyman of Hartsville and state Rep. Robert Williams of Darlington will square off in a June 26 runoff — and Libertarian Dick Withington in November.
- Former state Sen. Lee Bright (25 percent) has one spot locked in for a runoff for the Republican nomination in the 4th District seat left open when U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy decided not to run again. Bright is a social conservative known for controversial stances, like requiring people to use the bathrooms of the gender of their birth.
Bright's runoff opponent still wasn't clear after Tuesday's primary. State Sen. William Timmons and state Rep. Dan Hamilton at 19 percent each were within 400 votes of each other for the second spot in the June 26 primary in unofficial results.
- Businessman Brandon Brown and accountant Doris Lee Turner will meet in a runoff to determine the Democratic nominee for the 4th District.
- Democratic primary winner Mary Geren of Anderson will face American Party's Dave Moore of Salem and incumbent 3rd District Republican Jeff Duncan in the general election. Duncan is seeking his fifth term in the district in the northwest part of the state.
- In the 6th District, Democratic incumbent James Clyburn, Republican candidate Gerhard Gressmann of Estill and the Green Party's Bryan Pugh of Orangeburg ran unopposed for their party's nomination and will face each other in November in the state's only majority-minority district.