There will be a recount Monday for a disputed state Senate race in the Pee Dee region that could be decided by a razor-thin margin. Incumbent Sen. Yancey McGill (D-Kingstree) edged out fellow Democrat Cezar McKnight in Tuesday’s primary by only 82 votes.
Because that was less than one percent of the total votes cast, South Carolina law requires a recount. The state Board of Canvassers officially ordered the recount Friday, although local election commissions in the five counties of Senate District 32 were already preparing for it.
McGill has served in the state Senate since 1988. He is one of the most senior and powerful Democrats in the General Assembly and even chairs a subcommittee that controls much of the state’s agricultural budget. However, McGill caught flak from his constituents after he supported many of the same legislative goals as Gov. Nikki Haley. He was the only Democrat to get an “A” on the governor’s legislative report cards.
McKnight is Kingstree attorney who is seeking his first political office. He has criticized McGill’s record and, as a result, seized roughly 60 percent of the vote in Williamsburg County– the home turf of both candidates. But McGill won precincts in Berkeley, Florence, Georgetown, and Marion counties to take his narrow lead.
McKnight’s campaign manager Lachlan McIntosh said he was looking forward to the recount– and that 82 votes is a very small margin overall.
“Obviously, mistakes happen,” he told South Carolina Radio Network, “Sometimes a precinct may get counted twice or not at all.”
McGill could not be reached Friday.
The recounts will begin around 9 a.m. Monday. Each county is responsible for retabulating its own precincts.