Former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster easily won his way into a runoff for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, but his opponent in two weeks was too close to call Tuesday night.
Retired Charleston developer Pat McKinney, a political newcomer, led Columbia businessman Mike Campbell, a son of the late Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell, by less than 1 percentage point with 98 percent of precincts statewide reporting.
Automatic recounts are triggered in races separated by less than 1 percentage point.
McKinney raised more than twice the amount of money as his three opponents combined, while Campbell gathered less than $50,000 in his second bid for lieutenant governor in eight years.
Columbia pastor Ray Moore, who ran to promote moving students out of public schools, finished a distant fourth.
McMaster, a state Republican stalwart who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010 after two terms as the state’s top legal officer, received 44 percent of the vote Tuesday. McKinney and Campbell won 24 percent each and were separated by less than 1,300 votes of the nearly 300,000 cast.
The winner of the June 24 GOP runoff faces Democratic state Rep. Bakari Sellers of Bamberg, who had no primary opponent, in the November general election. The seat is open because Republican Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell is resigning to become president of the College of Charleston.