Thurmond, Tinkler Election Results
Candidate will fill seat long held by Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell.
Updated Wednesday morning with more votes counted in the race.
Republican Paul Thurmond appeared likely to win the S.C. Senate District 41 race late Tuesday, defeating Democrat Paul Tinkler.
Numbers from Charleston County put Thurmond more than 4,000 votes ahead in the race, with 24,989 votes to Tinkler's 20,094. More votes were still uncounted in Dorchester County, and absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
Noting the record number of absentee ballots cast this election — nearly a third of all votes cast statewide in the 2012 General Election — Tinkler said he planned to wait for all votes to be counted before conceeding or making a victory speech, should the absentee ballots break his way.
"The absentee turnout was so heavy it could really change some of the local races," campaign manager Mary Tinkler said.
Thurmond, the youngest son of former U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, is a former Charleston County Council member and made a run for Congress in 2010. Tinkler is a former Charleston City Council member.
Thurmond did not return a call for comment on the race on election night.
The competition for the seat has been intriguing since Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell's swift exit earlier this year. The powerful leader of the Senate was constitutionally obligated to fill the remainder of the term of Lt. Gov. Ken Ard, who was indicted on charges of campaign fraud.
The search for a replacement involved a number of twists and turns, including a special election to fill the seat through the end of the year, and a Supreme Court challenge to primary filing that threw most primary candidates off the ballot.
Tinkler remained the Democratic candidate, but Thurmond had to fight threw a last-minute second primary and runoff to earn his spot on the ballot.