But after celebrating last night, she woke up only to learn her victory was being questioned, and directly by the state’s Democratic Party.
Votes for a former candidate, whose name remained on some ballots in the June 12 election, were removed from the total. Had those votes been included in the final tally, says SCDP chair Dick Harpootlian, Bromell-Tinubu would only have led the race with plurality.
Because a majority of 50 percent plus one is required to be declared a primary victor, Harpootlian says, a runoff election between Bromell-Tinubu and second-place finisher Preston Brittain should be required.
Former candidate Ted Vick formally withdrew from the race on May 25 after a DUI arrest the day before. Because electronic voting machines had already been programmed for the primary, Vick still received 2,340 votes in the race.
In a press release issued this morning, Harpootlian asked for the state Election Commission to return Vick’s votes to the total pool, and that a runoff election be scheduled.
“The Democratic Party does not want to disenfranchise any voter in South Carolina and by not counting the votes for Ted Vick, you are not counting the votes for over 2,300 people,” Harpootlian said. “Every vote counts.”
In the SCDP press release, Harpootlian cites Section 7-17-610 of the state’s Code of Law: “If a candidate for a single office is to be selected, and there is more than one person seeking nomination, the majority shall be ascertained by dividing the total vote cast for all candidates by two.”
However, it’s that same code that defends her victory by majority, Bromell-Tinubu says, implying that Harpootlian is overlooking true definition of the term “candidate.”
In a press release issued by her campaign this afternoon, she implies that same law “clearly states that Ted Vick was not a candidate in the race.
“To argue that the South Carolina Election Commission should count the votes of someone who wasn’t a candidate in the race is ridiculous.”
The Election Commission agrees with Bromell-Tinubu, too, according to Chris Whitmire, Director of Public Information for the commission. Because Vick had formally withdrawn, he was no longer an actual candidate whose votes could be counted.
The commission “will ask for legal advice from the Attorney General’s office,” Whitmire said, and its board of directors will have a formal meeting this Friday to certify the results of the primary elections.
Preston Brittain, however, is already banking on a decision that will favor his campaign. “I am proud to announce that we are in the runoff election,” he stated today.
In a separate press release, Brittain’s campaign manager John Keig said he would “oppose any effort to disenfranchise voters in the 7th District.”
Brittain received endorsement from over 20 elected Democratic officials in the state. He raised over $455,000 in campaign donations, almost 10 times the amount raised by Bromell-Tinubu, according to FEC records.
Brittain still fell 4,000 votes below Bromell-Tinubu’s count, however, finishing with 39.4 percent from the four-candidate field.
The Elections Commission will formally certify the primary results on Friday afternoon.
In the Republican primary for this same office, Andre Bauer and Tom Rice were the top two finishers from a slate of nine candidates. The two will compete in a June 26 runoff.