Political candidates are making their last ditch efforts today as voters head to the polls for the party primaries.
But University of South Carolina Political expert Mark Tompkins says the important dynamic affecting today’s event is that only a small percentage of voters usually turn out for primaries. Tompkins says he expects only 20 percent of eligible voters at the polls today. And even more important is that a number of runoff elections are likely in a few weeks, and an even smaller turnout is likely then.
In the race for governor, Tompkins says Nikki Haley will draw voters on the Republican side, but that traditional conservatives will assuredly show up to support Henry McMaster.
A new poll from Public Policy Polling suggests that Haley has a 20 point lead and 43 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, followed by Gresham Barrett at 23 percent, Henry McMaster at 16 percent and Andre Bauer with 12 percent.
On the Democratic side, voters will choose between Robert Ford, Jim Rex or Vincent Sheheen.
Dr. Tompkins says the Republican race for governor will likely go to a runoff. He says just because a candidate is one of the top vote getters and makes it to a runoff does not mean that a candidate’s fight is over. He says dynamics can change completely in a primary runoff since the turnout is usually so small.
The question is can Nikki Haley sustain the enthusiasm she has sparked in the runoff election, and can the Attorney General sustain his support from the traditional conservative Republican base into the runoff. We have cases in the recent past of one candidate winning the primary but finding themselves unable to sustain that support into the runoff election.
Polls close at 7 p.m.