Special primary narrows race for slain senator’s seat

Jasper County voters cast their ballots to select the democrat to run in the special election for the open senate seat.

Lowcountry voters will elect a senator to fill the seat left open after the tragic Charleston massacre, when the late Senator Clementa Pinckney was killed in his church. District 45 includes parts of Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton, Allendale, and Charleston counties. The Tuesday primary will either select one of 11 democrat candidates to run against the sole republican candidate in October, or send some democrats into a run-off election.

Out of the Jasper County voting precincts, the Mt. Carmel Baptist Center in Ridgeland was considered the busiest for most of the day. As of 3 p.m., poll workers reported just over 200 votes cast at their location. However, Jeanine Bostick at the voter registration office reported low turn-out overall. Bostick said there was under 10% turnout across the county, as of 3 p.m. She reported 892 out of 13,096 votes cast at that time.

Voters NEWS 3 spoke with hoped more people would get out to the polls.

“Well, a very tragic event caused this situation and it definitely rings home to all of us what a serious business this is,” said Jerry Pendergrass.

After Senator Pinckney was gunned-down in his church, Mother Emanuel AME, some voters considered the election to fill his spot an emotional one.

“He was a pastor at the church I grew up in, Campbell Chapel AME Church in Bluffton,” Dicia Gaston said.

“It was very emotional, because, how can someone do such a heinous crime? to innocent people? I just don’t understand why some people have this mindset as to wanting to kill someone for no particular reason,” Gaston said.

Gaston believes there is hope that one candidate out of the 11 running for the nomination in the Tuesday primary could carry-on Pinckney’s work.

“I’m hoping that the person that I did vote for will continue to do the work that he was doing and to try to focus more on the younger generation,” she said.

Other voters carefully screened those running.

“It’s going to be some pretty big shoes to fill, on account that he did so much for Ridgeland, but I believe there’s somebody out there that could partially take place in his shoes,” said Jarae Anderson.

“Actually, the candidate I voted for, I’ve got some long term relationship with, I’ve been able to observe them in the community to see how effective they are,” said Pendergrass.

Stay with NEWS 3 as results come in once the polls close at 7 p.m.

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