With nearly all precincts reporting, Curtis Bostic has eked out ahead of Republican candidate Larry Grooms, and will probably face Mark Sanford in an April 2 runoff election. Bostic and Grooms are still in a close race for second place; Bostic has 7,036 votes to Grooms, 6,614 votes. A recount is automatically required if the second and third places finishers are separated by less than one percent according to South Carolina Law.
Curtis Bostic has closely aligned himself with the Tea Party. Bostic doesn't have the support of large financial donors and has been focusing his efforts on courting religious voters. Mark Sanford made a strong showing in the polls taking home over 35 percent of the vote. He will face many more questions regarding his personal life in the run off election which may damage him politically as more voters pay attention. If tonight's results are any indication though, voters may be more willing to look beyond past indiscretions.
Only 15 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in the Special Election. With the April run off only a few weeks away, candidates will have little time to retool their campaigns. They will have to dedicate the majority of their efforts to consolidating the vote.
The packed Republican primary damaged the Republican brand in South Carolina more than it has helped them. This problem will become increasingly apparent come the general election on May 7 where the candidate will face off against Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Busch easily won against her opponent Ben Frasier.
Final election results below: