Ellis wins Democratic education race without a runoff

June 18, 2022 GMT
Supporters celebrate South Carolina Rep. Russell Fry's win over U.S. Rep. Tom Rice for his congressional seat in the Republican primary, at the 8th Avenue Tiki Bar in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Tuesday, June 14, 2022.  (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)
Supporters celebrate South Carolina Rep. Russell Fry's win over U.S. Rep. Tom Rice for his congressional seat in the Republican primary, at the 8th Avenue Tiki Bar in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Tuesday, June 14, 2022.  (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)
Supporters celebrate South Carolina Rep. Russell Fry's win over U.S. Rep. Tom Rice for his congressional seat in the Republican primary, at the 8th Avenue Tiki Bar in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Tuesday, June 14, 2022.  (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)
Supporters celebrate South Carolina Rep. Russell Fry's win over U.S. Rep. Tom Rice for his congressional seat in the Republican primary, at the 8th Avenue Tiki Bar in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)
Supporters celebrate South Carolina Rep. Russell Fry's win over U.S. Rep. Tom Rice for his congressional seat in the Republican primary, at the 8th Avenue Tiki Bar in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s election board Friday finalized the results for this week’s primaries and confirmed Democratic Education Superintendent candidate Lisa Ellis narrowly avoided a runoff.

The board certified all races in South Carolina, but the Democratic superintendent primary was the only statewide race close enough to leave any question about the result.

Ellis, who founded the SC for Ed teacher advocacy group, received 50.1% of Tuesday’s vote, according to unofficial results from the South Carolina Election Commission. She avoided a runoff by 199 votes, which is required if no candidate gets a majority. Anderson County School District 4 Superintendent Gary Burgess finished second and state Rep. Jerry Govan third.

Ellis’ Republican opponent will be determined in a June 28 runoff. Palmetto State Teachers Association Executive Director Kathy Maness was the top vote getter and will face conservative think tank CEO and former state Education Oversight Committee chairwoman Ellen Weaver, who finished second.

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The other statewide runoff will be for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, between author and preservationist Catherine Fleming Bruce and state Rep. Krystle Matthews.

They finished first and second in a three-candidate primary where all three women received more than 32% of the vote. Only 4,500 votes separated first place from last place with more than 171,000 ballots cast.

Election officials ordered recounts in three state House races, required when less than 1% of the votes separate the candidates. In a Republican Lexington County race, the official results showed Rep. Micah Caskey held on to a 25-vote lead. In a state House race in Spartanburg and Cherokee counties, the second and third place finishers aiming for a runoff for an open seat were still separated by 14 votes. In a Richland County Republican primary, the winning margin dropped from four votes to three votes.

Early voting for the June 28 runoffs begins Wednesday and ends next Friday.