Runoffs were held yesterday in four states ending some of the most heated primary campaigns this year. As expected, Nikki Haley, a South Carolina state Representative, defeated Rep. Gresham Barrett in what turned out to be a landslide in the GOP runoff for governor. With a campaign that drew national attention for big name endorsements and scandal, Haley has become the first woman to earn a major party nomination for governor in the state's history. She is likely to become only the second Indian-American elected to governor in U.S. history following Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). Haley’s election was not the only result South Carolina aimed at making history. In the GOP runoff for the 1st Congressional District, African-American state Rep. Tim Scott handily defeated Charleston County Council Member Paul Thurmond, son of former South Carolina Governor and Sen. Strom Thurmond. If successful in the general election, Scott would become the first African-American member of the GOP's House caucus since Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts – who retired in 2003. Scott would also be the first African-American to represent South Carolina in Congress in more than a century. Rounding out Palmetto State runoff news, Rep. Bob Inglis (R) was unseated by 7th Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy in a resounding 71 percent to 29 percent defeat. Inglis has represented the 4th District for six terms and is the third House incumbent to lose this year – following West Virginia's Alan Mollohan (D) and Alabama's Parker Griffith (D-to-R). Staying in the Carolinas, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall defeated establishment candidate and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham in the Democratic primary runoff to face Sen. Sen. Richard Burr (R) in the fall. Marshall overcame Cunningham's significant establishment support - which included the DSCC, many state legislators and environmental groups – to win by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin. According to FEC, DSCC spent nearly $90,000 on Cunningham’s campaign. In the runoff for Utah Sen. Bob Bennett’s (R) seat, Alpine Attorney Mike Lee defeated Provo businessman Tim Bridgewater 51 percent to 49 percent for the GOP nomination in what was Tuesday’s closest final tally. After the three-term Bennett failed to make it past the Utah GOP party convention because he wasn't “conservative enough," Bridgewater and Lee advanced to a runoff in which Lee went from trailing in the polls to becoming the likely next senator from Utah. Christopher J. Santarelli is an editorial intern at C&E.
Runoffs were held yesterday in four states ending some of the most heated primary campaigns this year.