The GOP race for an open seat in the state legislature will require a runoff after no candidate could secure 50 percent of the vote.
Voters in Anderson County went to the polls Tuesday to choose a new legislator for the seat left vacant by Republican Dan Cooper. Joshua Putnam picked up nearly 47 percent of the vote and Hamp Johnson was second with 33 percent. The two will face off again in a July 26 run-off.
The winner will face Constitution Party candidate Dave Ballard in the general election. No Democrats have filed for the race.
The district is rural and consists of the towns of Piedmont, Powdersville, Pelzer, and Williamston.
Putnam, at age 22, would be the youngest member of the Legislature if he is able to win. He is a former staffer for current South Carolina congressman Jeff Duncan. Johnson is a small business consultant.
The winner will have to get in re-election mode right away, as the seat is scheduled to be combined with Easley’s District 26 (currently held by Republican Eric Bikas) in 2012.
Putnam unsuccessfully ran against Cooper in 2010. Cooper, the House’s top budget writer, stepped down last month. He said he was exhausted after 21 years in the Statehouse and wanted to spend more time with his family.
About 1,980 people turned out to cast their ballots– roughly eight percent of the registered voters in the district.
Joe Mills finished third in the GOP primary with 9 percent, followed by Mark Powell, Mike Jones, and Eric McConnell.