Bauer wins runoff for Lieutenant Governor - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Bauer wins runoff for Lieutenant Governor

(Columbia) June 27, 2006 - Incumbent Andre Bauer has defeated challenger Mike Campbell in the GOP primary runoff for lieutenant governor.

Bauer came from behind after finishing second in the three-way June 13th primary, behind Mike Campbell. 

The 37-year-old Bauer was counting on a repeat Tuesday of his come-from-behind runoff win four years ago.

In 2002 though, Bauer didn't face the son of a popular former governor. Campbell is the son of the late former Governor Carroll Campbell. Political newcomer Campbell called Bauer to concede and thanked his supporters. The 37-year-old Campbell said Bauer ran a hard-fought race.

In reaction to the win, Lieutenant Governor told supporters "I've been given two more chances at life."

Bauer was referring to surviving a plane crash last month that left him trolling for votes on crutches for the last part of the campaign.

The close runoff race had voters debating who they would support.

Todd Scircle of Lexington says he voted for the son of the late former Governor Carroll Campbell because of Bauer's conduct in office. Bauer has been criticized for several speeding incidents.

Elizabeth Hawk of Greenville works for Bob Jones University Press and says she voted for the lieutenant governor because of his change of attitude about spiritual matters after he survived the plane crash in May.

Monday, both candidates were out campaigning for last minute votes.

Mike Campbell met with supporters during a stop at a restaurant in Columbia. Andre Bauer concluded his campaign Monday afternoon in Charleston County by walking across the new Ravenel Bridge.

As the voting wrapped up Tuesday, WIS' Angie Goff went to the site where Campbell's supporters were planning to gather, hoping to hear good news for their favorite candidate.

Campbell took a few minutes from his campaigning to speak with Angie, "Oh yeah, the nerves are definitely, definitely flowing. But it's an exciting adrenaline, you know, that's what we've been running on for the last two weeks, really, the last month. Because, you know, it's such a grueling process, but worth the sacrifice, worth the time that you invest in it. So, we're really excited."

Campbell shied away from predicting a win, "Well, not that I'm superstitious, but you can tell that we're at the same place again, same type set-up, so hopefully we'll have the same return. You know, it's going to all come back to who turned out today, whose supporters went to the polls and exercised that right."

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer voted in Charleston Tuesday. He made his way to the Midlands and did some campaigning from the overpass on St. Andrews Road over I-26. That's where WIS' Jack Kuenzie caught up with Bauer.

Bauer spoke in response to some criticism he's been hearing about that method of campaigning, "Well, the Highway Department saw fit to put signs up here that they've got to look at too, so if that's the case maybe the Highway Department needs to take the signs down if they're distracting as well. But any time you've got somebody that you know, an opponent, they're going to complain. They don't want to work and the other guy's out working. We're going to keep working, and if they want to complain, fine, let them complain."

When asked about a permit for the banner, Bauer said, "I don't have a permit for the banner, but I'm not sure you have to have a permit for a banner."

Bauer will face Democrat Robert Barber in the November general election.

In other races, Charleston businessman Thomas Ravenel has beaten Easley developer Jeff Willis in the running for Treasurer. Ravenel led the primary voting, and second place finisher Greg Ryberg and third-place finisher Rick Quinn withdrew.

Other Republican contests include a runoff for the House 96 seat in Aiken and Lexington Counties. Kit Spires won that race against Ken Clark. Spires won with 57 percent of the vote to Clark's 43 percent.

In the Lowcountry, Suzanne Piper won the Republican nomination for the state House seat being vacated by long-time Charleston Representative John Graham Altman. Piper received 52 percent of the vote to Greg Hart's 48 percent.

Democrats also had runoffs to decide. In the Pee Dee, there was the Darlington and Florence race for State House District 62 between Gabriella Dottie Mack White and Robert Williams, which Williams won.

Another Lowcountry race was the contest for the US House of Representatives District One between Ben Frasier and Randy Maatta. Maatta took that race with 56 percent.

Maata said his campaign still has a long way to go. He faces incumbent Republican Henry Brown in November.

Locally, there's a race for Richland County Council District One. Bill Malinowski is facing Jim Holcombe. The winner of that race will represent the rapidly growing northwest corner of Richland County.

Turnout in Tuesday's runoff elections did not impress poll workers. Rain in the Upstate, Midlands and Pee Dee didn't encourage voting.

Ottis Smith is poll manager at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington. He says the turnout is naturally slow in an off-year election. Fewer than one-fifth of registered voters took part in the June 13th primary and officials say turnout Tuesday may have been as little as 10 percent of those eligible to vote.

Updated 10:47pm by Bryce Mursch with AP

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