Party leaders were quick to congratulate Tinubu on her decisive victory, despite their skepticism over her general election chances. “She ran a great campaign,” commented state Democratic Party chair Dick Harpootlian, who initially threatened to file a lawsuit over the tumultuous primary. “If Republican’s [sic] worked half as hard as Dr. Tinubu, state government wouldn’t be on the verge of a shutdown this week.”
Tinubu will face Horry Co. Councilman Tom Rice in the general election for the 7th District seat. Rice beat former Lt. Gov. André Bauer by 12 points for the Republican nomination, despite Bauer’s five-point win in the initial primary vote earlier this month.
“When André Bauer came in last in the 2010 governor’s race, he grew a loser’s beard,” Free Times reporter Corey Hutchins quipped on Twitter as Tuesday’s results became clear. “He got beat so bad tonight, poor guy’s gonna look like Teen Wolf.”
Rice’s primary win indicates that Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement still means something to Republican voters in the 7th District, despite her low approval rating elsewhere in the state. Haley endorsed Rice in the runoff (no surprise considering her longstanding and contentious rivalry with Bauer) and campaigned against Bauer in the Pee Dee ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
It’s unclear how much support state and national Democrats will give Tinubu in the general election against Rice, considering her perceived outsider status as a former Georgia politician and the high electoral stakes elsewhere in the country. We can, however, expect Tinubu to receive a great deal of support from unions, seeing as former South Carolina AFL-CIO president Donna “piñata hunter” DeWitt has been one of her most prominent supporters.
We wouldn’t exactly consider unions a winning issue in this state given that less than four percent of South Carolina workers are unionized, but either way this is definitely a race we’ll continue to keep a close eye on.