CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – State Representatives Wendell Gilliard and Deon Tedder will head to a runoff following Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Senate District 42 after neither candidate walked away with more than 50% of the vote.
Unofficial results from the South Carolina Election Commission show Gilliard with 47 percent over Tedder’s 39 percent late Tuesday night. State Rep. JA Moore came in third with only 15 percent.
The Charleston County Board of Elections said a candidate must win at least 50% of the votes plus one to avoid a runoff. That runoff election will be held on September 19.
News 2 caught up with both of the upcoming runoff candidates at their watch parties on Tuesday night. Rep. Tedder, who hosted his party at Republic Garden & Lounge said he planned to get right to work on Wednesday, knocking on doors and encouraging voters to show up for the runoff.
“The voters sent a clear message, there’s three people but clearly they’re ready for new leadership. I think that we’re in a good position, being that I only served for three years and it appears that the person that will be in the runoff, likely, has probably at least 20 years of public service in Charleston so I think that says a lot about our campaign, what we were able to do,” said Rep. Tedder, who currently represents District 109.
Rep. Gilliard hosted his party at the Chill N Grill in North Charleston and said he plans to keep his grassroots approach when trying to win votes in the runoff.
“I think that the fact that the people have spoken tonight, once again, I want to reiterate, they’re not going to be bought off. We now control 47% of the total votes and I’m elated about it. My camp is, my team is. So, yeah we are going to drive this message home. We will not be bought by big TV commercials,” said Rep. Gilliard, who represents District 111.
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 encompasses portions of Charleston and Dorchester counties.
Whichever candidate wins the upcoming runoff will face Republican Rosa Kay during the November 7th election.