- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on the South Carolina primaries (all times local):

10:35 p.m.

The Democratic nomination in South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District appears to be set for a recount.

Arik Bjorn of Columbia held a 49-vote lead over Phil Black of Lexington with all precincts reporting Tuesday. The margin of 0.3 percent with more than 19,000 votes counted was well within the 1 percent required for a recount.

Bjorn used to work for the South Carolina SmartState Program and Health Sciences South Carolina, while Black is semi-retired and ran as a Republican four years ago.

The winner will move on to face long-time incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson.


10:05 p.m.

Longtime Sen. Wes Hayes has lost his re-election bid to a candidate backed by Gov. Nikki Haley.

York County GOP Chairman Wes Climer had about 52 percent of the vote over Hayes, who was first elected to the Legislature in 1984.

Hayes, the lead senator on K-12 issues, was the lone casualty Tuesday of Haley’s attempts to unseat Senate leaders. Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman of Florence won a three-way race outright, and Senate Ethics Chairman Luke Rankin of Myrtle Beach defeated his challenger.

Haley’s candidate in an open House seat also lost.

Katie Arrington won 62 percent of the vote in the race to replace state Rep. Jenny Horne, who lost her bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford. Haley had endorsed Dorchester County Council member Carroll Duncan.


9:30 p.m.

Senate Ethics Chairman Luke Rankin has defeated a primary challenger backed by Gov. Nikki Haley to win a seventh term.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, the Myrtle Beach Republican had 56 percent of the vote over Scott Pyle.

Rankin has no Democratic challenger in November.

Rankin is the second Senate leader to survive Haley’s opposition. Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman from Florence won a three-way race outright.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Stephen Goldfinch advances to a runoff with Reese Boyd. Haley endorsed Boyd in the race to replace retiring Sen. Ray Cleary. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Goldfinch led the four-way race in the Grand Strand district with 42 percent of the vote over Boyd’s 41 percent.


9:10 p.m.

South Carolina’s most powerful lawmaker has survived Gov. Nikki Haley’s attempt to unseat him.

Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman defeated two challengers in Tuesday’s Republican primary. He received more than 54 percent of vote in the three-way race.

Haley’s candidate, Florence County GOP Chairman Richard Skipper, received about 41 percent.

Also, Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin is advancing to a primary runoff June 28 against former state Rep. Rex Rice. With 98 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, Martin has 45 percent of the total votes in the four-way race.

Martin has represented Pickens County in the Senate since 1993. He was first elected to the House in 1978.

Martin has been a reliable ally for Haley.


9 p.m.

Incumbent Republican Mark Sanford has been easily nominated again in the 1st Congressional District, turning back a primary challenge from state Rep. Jenny Horne of Summerville.

With about 90 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday, Sanford had more than 55 percent of the vote.

Sanford regained the seat in the district on the state’s south coast which he held in the 1990s in a special election three years ago.

Horne drew national attention a year ago when she gave an impassioned speech calling for the removal of the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds in Columbia.

Lawmakers lowered the flag after the slayings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Friday is the anniversary of the killings.

Sanford will be heavily favored in the strongly Republican district against a Democrat and two third-party candidates in November.


8:35 p.m.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney has been nominated for a fourth term in South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District.

In Tuesday’s voting Mulvaney easily turned back a primary challenge from Ray Craig of Lake Wylie in the district which runs along the North Carolina state line in the middle of the state.

With just over 40 percent of the precincts reporting, Mulvaney had almost 80 percent of the vote in his race against Craig, who does ministerial and nonprofit work.

Mulvaney faces Democrat Fran Person and a third party candidate in November.


7 p.m.

Polls are closing in South Carolina after a day of light voting in South Carolina primaries - elections in which there were not a lot of races for voters to decide.

There were no statewide races on Tuesday’s ballot and contested primaries in only three of the state’s seven congressional districts. And incumbents faced primaries in only 40 of the 170 state House and Senate seats.

South Carolina Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire says turnout was light and there were few voting problems.

The polls were open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.


4:40 p.m.

South Carolina is testing some new equipment in some precincts that officials hope will speed up voting during presidential election this fall.

The state Election Commission has purchased 300 hand-held scanners for driver’s licenses. They are being used in larger precincts around the state.

Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire says the scanners save time because they quickly find and record a voter as having voted, saving the poll workers from having to punch in the voter name and then finding the name on a list on their computer screens.

Whitmire says some individual counties have been using the scanners on a limited basis since 2010. But the commission plans to purchase more and have as many as 1,000 additional scanners in use this November.

South Carolina has more than 2,200 precincts.


3:30 p.m.

South Carolina Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire says turnout has been light in the state’s primaries.

There are no statewide races being decided Tuesday. There are only three contested primaries in U.S. House races, and just 40 legislators in the South Carolina General Assembly’s 170 seats face a challenger.

Whitmire says there have been only a few voting glitches.

In two Richland County precincts custodians didn’t unlock polling places by the time the polls were supposed to open at 7 a.m. In one Aiken County precinct, the poll workers didn’t initially realize there was a Democratic primary on the ballot so some early voters ended up voting instead in the Republican primary.

Whitmire says some voters not casting Democratic primary ballots could be an issue for a subsequent protest if the election is close.

Polls close at 7 p.m.


6:45 a.m.

Voters across South Carolina will determine whether two incumbent congressmen and 40 legislators survive primary contests to be on November’s ballots.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

There are no statewide races. But both Gov. Nikki Haley and Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster are campaigning, though for opposing candidates. While Haley is working to oust several Senate leaders, McMaster and other Haley allies support the incumbents’ re-election.

A group connected to Haley has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing her opposition campaigns.

The most watched congressional race pits former governor and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford against state Rep. Jenny Horne of Summerville for the Lowcountry’s 1st District.

U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney also faces a GOP challenger for the 5th District along the North Carolina border.


This story has been corrected to fix the number of legislators facing primary challenges to 40

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