GOP voters up for grabs before 1st district runoff - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

GOP voters up for grabs before 1st district runoff

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Mark Sanford and Curtis Bostic made up 50 percent of the Republican vote for South Carolina's 1st Congressional district seat. The other 14 GOP candidates took home the other half of the pie. If you do the math, roughly 26,000 votes will be up for grabs when Bostic and Sanford head into the runoff. 

Brian McGee, a communications professor at the College of Charleston, says those votes will be crucial for Bostic to collect. 

"It's an extremely difficult road to win," said McGee. "[Bostic's] got to find many more votes than he had in the first round."

In the first round, voters choose Mark Sanford 2.7 times more than Bostic. That's a margin the underdog needs to shrink to be competitive.

McGee says there are three big questions that will be answered in the next two weeks. Those answers will give the best preview of who will become the republican nominee.

First, McGee asks, "Will Mr. Bostic run aggressively against Mr. Sanford's record or will he run the largely positive campaign like he did in the first primary election?"

"Will a lot of outside money come in?"

"Will their be high visibility endorsements of one or the other?"

McGee says the third question may tip the scales on way or another.

"Mr. [Andy] Patrick and Mr. [Larry] Grooms may decide to endorse someone in this race and that could have an influence on some of their supporters," said McGee.

Those endorsements could cut the gap between the two remaining candidates if they went to Bostic. Adversely, if Sanford received their endorsements it may propel him to a landslide victory.

Andy Patrick won Beaufort County with 3,600+ votes, around 30% of all votes cast.

Larry Grooms could supply ammo in Berkeley County where he finished second to Sanford with more than 3,000 votes to his name.

Grooms' endorsement may hold more weight because of how close he came to facing off against Sanford himself.

Wednesday morning, the 37th District Senator conceded what was going to be a recount with Curtis Bostic.

Grooms said unless there was a machine problem "there was no way" he would make up the almost 500 votes necessary to overcome Bostic, who finished just under 1% ahead of him.

State law dictates the automatic recount scheduled for this Friday still has to take place, but Grooms is not waiting for those results.

Bostic is scheduled to take on former Gov. Mark Sanford in a debate held at Charleston's Porter-Gaud School in West Ashley on Mar. 28, according to the Charleston County GOP.  The debate is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.  You can purchase tickets here.

A runoff election for Republican candidates is scheduled for Apr. 2, while the general election is set for May 7.

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