CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – It’s a race too close to call. Democrats Deon Tedder and Wendell Gillard met in a runoff election Tuesday as they campaign for a seat in the South Carolina Senate.
Unofficial results from the South Carolina Election Commission show 4,173 ballots were cast in the September 19th election. State Representative Deon Tedder leads State Representative Wendell Gillard by 11 votes.
According to Isaac Cramer, the Executive Director of the Charleston County Board of Elections, they will hold their certification hearing on Thursday where the board will review 10 provisional ballots.
He said if the margin is one percent or less, which will happen even if all ten votes are counted, the State Board of Canvassers will call a recount when they meet at 11 am on Thursday.
While state law requires a recount when the margin is within one percentage point, Tedder on Wednesday afternoon sent out an email to his supporters declaring victory in the race.
“If yesterday’s results show us anything, it’s that every vote counts. Every single person who decided to go and vote for me and told others to do so pushed us over the edge to victory. I will be forever grateful,” Tedder said.
News 2 spoke to Rep. Tedder on Wednesday.
“It’s just amazing the gap we were able to come back from. A lot of people doubted us. I was the underdog from the beginning. So, I think it just speaks the testament to the people in district 42, that they’re ready for change,” said Rep. Tedder.
Rep. Gilliard was not available for an interview, but he said on Wednesday his campaign has not conceded in the race.
“The election results are far too close,” he said in a statement. “It is far too early for anyone to claim the mantle of our party’s nominee.” His full statement can be found here.
Rep. Gillard was the top performer in the September 5 special election primary, earning 47 percent of votes; however, because South Carolina requires a majority, the race was forced into a runoff. Tedder received 39 percent in the race while State Rep. JA Moore came in third with only 15 percent.
The special election comes after former State Senator Marlon Kimpson left the office nearly a year early for a role in President Joe Biden’s administration to serve on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
The district includes portions of Charleston and Dorchester counties.
Tedder said his team is preparing for the final steps as they near the November 7 general election. Tedder, if the outcome of Tuesday’s race holds, will face Republican Rosa Kay.