The race to replace an Upstate senator who passed away earlier this year is heading to a runoff.
State Rep. Mike Gambrell, R-Honea Path, and Williamston Town Councilman Rockey Burgess will advance to an April 5 runoff election after none of the four Republican candidates received a majority of Tuesday’s vote. All are running to replace the late State Sen. Billy O’Dell, who passed away in early January.
Gambrell received 46 percent of the vote, while Burgess picked up 32 percent. Greenwood attorney Tripp Padgett finished third with 14 percent support, while Willie Day and Mark Powell got less than 10 percent support each, according to returns from the state Election Commission.
Senate District 4 has been a consistently Republican region ever since O’Dell switched parties from the Democratic to the GOP in 2003. No Democratic candidates have filed for the May 17 special election. Whoever wins will have quick turnaround time: the seat goes up for reelection along with every other senator’s in November.
Gambrell has represented parts of Anderson and Abbeville counties in the South Carolina House since 2007. Prior to that, he served as fire chief of the Friendship Fire Department near Belton. He also operates a waste hauling business.
Burgess is a fellow Republican who represents Ward Two on the Williamston Town Council.
Senate District 4 covers southern and eastern Anderson County, the western edge of Greenwood County and a sliver of Abbeville County.