Primary results: Nikki Haley-backed candidate beats Haley foe in South Carolina
By Aaron Blake,
Updated at 11:23 p.m.
Horry County Councilman Tom Rice, who got the late backing of Gov. Nikki Haley (R) in the GOP primary runoff in South Carolina’s new 7th district, defeated former lieutenant governor Andre Bauer for the GOP nomination Tuesday.
Rice’s victory comes just days after Haley got involved in the race. Bauer ran in the same GOP governor primary that Haley won in 2010, and it’s clear that bad blood remains between the two.
Rice led Bauer 56 percent to 44 percent with 95 percent of precincts reporting.
Haley and her husband, Michael, offered an impassioned endorsement of Rice on Friday in a statement that also took aim at Bauer.
“We don’t need another self-interested career politician in Washington,” she said on her Facebook page. “Michael and I completely support Tom Rice — an accountant and tax attorney — as we continue to focus on jobs and the economy for this growing and important new district and our state.”
Rice will be a heavy favorite in the general election. Democrats had hoped to contest the new seat, which would have gone about 54 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential race, but their top recruit dropped out of the race after a drunk driving arrest, and on Tuesday, former Georgia state representative Gloria Tinubu beat the establishment-favored alternative, attorney Preston Brittain, by an overwhelming margin in the Democratic runoff.
The new 7th district takes in the northeastern parts of the state, including fast-growing Myrtle Beach.
In other races held Tuesday:
* Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) easily survived a well-funded primary challenge from self-funder Robert Blaha, taking more than 60 percent of the vote.
* Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) wasn’t looking so fortunate, trailing tea party candidate Jim Bridenstine 53 perecnt to 47 percent with 58 percent of precincts reporting.
* Republicans and Democrats in retiring Rep. Dan Boren’s (D-Okla.) district were both headed for runoffs with no candidate clearing 50 percent of the vote. On the GOP side, businessman Markwayne Mullin will face state Rep. George Faught, and on the Democratic side, former district attorney Rob Wallace will face businessman Wayne Herriman. The seat is a top GOP pickup opportunity.